Originally Posted by apoggy
arrogance doesnt suit you haz, neither does posting off topic
Why i personally think it makes him look quite flattering
Story of Tony & Barrie..very intersting.. from www.pinkparents.com
Whatever you accuse Tony and Barrie Drewitt Barlow of, and they have been accused of plenty, my immediate and lasting impression of them is that they are totally clear about what they want in life. They are obviously besotted with each other, have several millions behind them, own a fabulous home with several top marquee cars in the drive and are blessed with a loving and supportive extended family. For them the icing on their gilded cake is to have fathered and be looking after their pretty, healthy boy and girl twins, Aspen and Saffron, now 22 months old.
The day I visited at their invitation, the twins were playing by the stables in the back garden with the grandparents and our chat was punctuated by normal family sounds in the background. But what a story they told me!
I had arrived, unwilling to judge them on the basis of the TV documentary and screaming tabloid headlines I remembered from 18 months or so ago. I left feeling that here were two genuine blokes. The one thing which distinguishes them from so many others, apart from their luck in money, is their tenacity and determination to live a dream. Hold on to your seatbelts because their story is a bumpy ride! It starts back in 1994 when they had been together for several years, were living in Essex and felt that their lives would be better if they were able to have children around. They saw an advert in a local Essex paper from Social Services looking for foster carers and became the first same-sex couple in the county to go through the approval process.
After two years of regular meetings, they were turned down flat by the Approvals Board who cited their lack of previous experience and the inappropriateness of a same-sex couple for foster caring! They were, however, encouraged to pursue foster care for a ‘Special Needs’ or disabled child!
They carried on with the process. They thought they could and should! They met supportive social workers, learned sign language and went before the Approvals Board again. They became friendly with a little boy called James who was severely affected with Downs Syndrome and wanted to offer him support. The Board again gave a flat NO. No explanation was given and in this system, 'two strikes and you are out’ operates. They were out!
Interestingly, according to the guys, none of the black, gay or older couples ended up with children, only the blindingly ‘normal’ couples.
So……. January 1996. Barry and Tony are in debt, depressed, living in Chelmsford and hundreds of miles from their families in Manchester. One day, Barry is messing about on the Internet and types a load of parenting related keywords into a search engine. Up comes details of American surrogacy clinics. Barry telephones one and asks, “I’m in L.A. next week. Can I pop round and see you?” The Agency asks for the name of Barry’s wife and when he says ‘boyfriend’, they reply, “We don’t help gay couples here, but I do have a Friend who set up 'Growing Generations’, the first gay and lesbian surrogacy agency.” Tony and Barry were intrigued. They had already spent five months donating sperm to a lesbian on a potential parental share agreement but it hadn’t worked so they decided to pursue this exciting new avenue.
At this time their business fortunes started to turn around. They had set up a new science related business from scratch and it was starting to hatch golden eggs. ‘Growing Generations’ claimed to manage the whole process and asked for a deposit of £49,000 to start the process. If we are talking money, the couple have probably spent £200,000 from start to finish! But this does include airfares, hotels, gifts and other expenses. They had already investigated ‘purchasing’ a child for adoption from American agencies who specialise in supplying (often Mexican) babies from around £50,000. They had rejected this option.
For those readers not familiar with surrogacy techniques, here is the science bit. More experienced readers can pick up the story at the next paragraph. The process is quite straightforward. The guys left their sperm on ice for six months (to rule out HIV). All in all, 26 eggs were harvested from Tracy, the egg donor mother. All were fertilised and 10 embryos developed. Fertilised embryos were then implanted into a surrogate mother called Theresa. No pregnancies resulted. Another surrogate called Rosalind was found and two boy and two girl embryos were implanted. Three pregnancies resulted but broke away after 7 weeks, leaving two growing babies.
In addition, Barrie's sperm had been ‘treated’ to only produce girls and Tony's to produce boys. At 20 weeks, they were delighted to discover that Rosalind was carrying a boy and a girl! Simple huh!!
Barry and Tony could not have cared less what sex their child or children were. They were ecstatic at the prospect of realising their dream. Their problems, however, were just beginning!!
The surrogate mother started to act very strangely four or five months into the pregnancy. She became very demanding about money, attention and involvement. She kept saying she was miscarrying and requested that a cook, housekeeper and nurse be employed to look after her. Tracy, the egg donor, monitored the situation but the couple felt exploited and powerless, unable to do anything other than ‘humour’ the surrogate lest she disappear to Canada, Mexico or elsewhere - perhaps even ‘selling’ the children to the kind of adoption agency they had previously investigated. At this time, frantic media speculation began. It started with an ex-employee approaching the Sunday Mirror and then Womans Own, selling an interview the boys had done to the Daily Mail and Daily Star. The children had not yet been born and they were being harassed by every newspaper and TV station in the UK and dozens from all over the world.
The twins were born in early December 1999. Barry and Tony walked into the labour unit, took their children and threw money onto the surrogate mother’s bed. They have never spoken to her since and claim that she is manipulative and scheming. In America, they couldn’t come home with the children because they had to sort out birth certificates and passports which they managed over a four week period. During this traumatic time, their hotel rooms were burgled, their video cameras were stolen and the stolen film footage subsequently shown all over Europe on TV.
They flew home on the 27th December with their two children and two nannies. Five burly (and apparently extremely attractive) immigration officers came on to the plane and escorted them off. Immigration insisted that the children be deported back to the USA. After extended airport–based legal formalities, the twins were granted a 28-day stay and this has subsequently been amended to indefinite leave to stay in Britain – although the children remain US citizens.
Barry and Tony signed an exclusive deal with the Mail on Sunday deciding that a ‘warts and all’ story would be a way of bringing some closure to this saga. Of course, it has done nothing of the sort. They are still constantly harassed by the media and cannot go to the supermarket without other shoppers staring and often coming up to touch the children uninvited.
Would they do it all again ? Yes! Yes! Yes! They may even have more children. They are not sure. Aspen really seems to take after his father and Saffron shows a lot of her father’s personality. Tracy, the egg donor biological mother, is friendly and visits regularly. She will probably have created around 20 children with her eggs, including two in her own family with her husband Jeff.
The boys have some simple advice for anyone following in their footsteps. Check the potential status of your surrogate to ensure you will actually get your child. Make sure you go through an agency and get a good lawyer! Finally, a strong mental attitude is essential. To quote Barry, "if you are a typical professional gay male with a house full of IKEA furniture and you have scraped together £30,000 or £40,000, do it!"
Aspen and Saffron are truly scrumptious, beautiful children and the boys seem very happy. If this is a strange story of our times, it seems to have love at its heart. Doesn’t it?