Making parents – the reality of the gay dads

A few years ago, I critiqued Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, the ‘gay dads’ who have set up a surrogacy business, after being spammed  by them on Twitter for suggesting that surrogacy exploited women. The post received some interesting comments after the Drewitt-Barlows put it out there on Twitter, said I was a mad Catholic woman in need of their help and requested that people leave their views.

Their new TV show aired last night and so they appear to be trolling Twitter, appearing to generate controversy and publicity to raise their viewing figures. One of the criticisms of surrogacy is that it reduces children to commodities, but of course parents would never treat their children like consumer goods , let alone ridicule and humiliate them for their genetic inheritance and the way in which they were brought into the world.

When Barrie shouted this at his son, it was clearly a joke:

“I paid for a gorgeous designer child with straight hair, not some reject from an 80s pop band with curly frizz.’’

The clip of the series in which Barrie can be seen shouting this at his son, can be seen here. (Not suitable for children, contains strong language). It gives an insight into his character as well as some of the heartbreak faced by infertile couples and pretty much encapsulates every single objection to this clinical and commercial procuring of children.

I don’t want to give them publicity for their new show and I am aware that by writing about this, I am giving them exactly what they want, but these men, together with a friend who seems to be wishing to kick start a career as a celebrity, have tonight called for me to be crucified, suggested that I am urinated upon, said that I am a pervert, a racist and a homophobe, in an unsolicited and unprovoked attack.

Writing for the Conservative Woman website, Laura Keynes proposes similar arguments and critiques of surrogacy highlighting the familiar silence and dissonance of mainstream feminism on what, like gendercide, should be a pressing issue for all who profess female solidarity.

For those who can bear it, I’ve created a storify of the Drewitt-Barlow’s libellous accusations here. I hate writing these kinds of blogs, but a few people have said that I need to find a way of documenting exactly what is going on here.

I stand by the tweet made back in November 2013, which the Drewitt-Barlows dug up tonight to justify their attack. This ‘dating site’ for egg donors really is a tawdry look into the women-for-hire nature of these men’s surrogacy business. Their company website is equally chilling. It strongly suggests surrogacy in America, California in particular, where the Drewitt-Barlows made legal history in that they were able to get a court order naming them both as parents on their child’s birth certificate. They advise on how to file an Pre-Birth order, which removes any rights or hold over the gestational mother may have over the child, so that the minute the child is born “specialist arrangements can be put in place to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible”. In the case of the birth certificate for same-sex parents, the court issues a pre-birth judgement specifying that on the birth certificate, one name is put in the box for father, the other in the box for mother,  in a piece of mind-bending legal fiction. The ‘intended parents’ therefore have rights over the woman’s body in that her child is yet to be born. ‘Intended parents’ are advised to  file for and obtain this judgement once the woman has reached 20 weeks in her pregnancy, in order to ensure that she is not able to exercise any rights over her child or her name be automatically placed on the birth certificate, should he or she be born prematurely.

It’s all about getting the baby away from their gestational mother before she has any chance to change her mind. One also has to ask whether or not as legal ‘intended parents’ a couple may impose their wish of birth plan onto a woman? Who gets the final say when there are tough decisions to be made which could perhaps compromise the baby. Is she restricted in her choice of pain relief and disbarred from commonly used opiates such as pethidine, which cross the placenta and can make the newborn drowsy?

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, is I gather, responsible for the @gaydads Twitter account, which has been issuing misogynistic, abusive and libellous tweets. The force of his unsolicited and unprovoked aggression, has knocked me for six, it’s bizarre that two men who are millionaires,  have a flourishing business,  five children, their own TV show and over 137,000 followers on Twitter want to squash a minor Catholic commentator in this way even writing to the Universe to suggest that I am dropped for being ‘evil’ and ‘homophobic’. Just to jog a few memories, this was the couple who threatened to sue the Church of England if they were not allowed to conduct a ‘gay wedding’.

According to the British Surrogacy Centre, Barrie is their lead ‘social worker’, having worked in clinical social work for over 10 years. A regular on day time TV shows such as This Morning and Lorraine, he is asked to take part in many TV debates regarding surrogacy and areas on same sex parenting.  Barrie has been a regular contributer to many top magazine and newspapers for many years now and has recently written his first book as a guide to Surrogacy.  As a social worker, Barrie’s aim at all times is the welfare of any children born through surrogacy and has at any one time up to 5 student social workers under him from Universities across the UK.”

And this ‘social worker’ is abusing a mum of four for her defective genes, supposed evilness, being a ‘troll’, a ‘bully’, a racist, a homophobe and getting his followers to hate on her and tweeting her editor to get her dropped from her weekly column all because she dares to publicly disagree with the nature of their business? He’s appearing on daytime television as an equality champion, social worker and expert in children’s welfare, but is quite happy to call for the crucifixion of a pervert evil mother, with his mate asking for her to be urinated on, a sentiment which he happily endorsed by re-tweeting to all his thousands of followers?

I’d love to know what a social worker would have to say to me if I were to even allude to a negative aspect of my daughter’s physical appearance on television.(She is totally perfect as she is and I wouldn’t dream of humiliating her in this way, she’s enough of a sensitive sausage as it is). I think we’d all know what would happen, they’d be whisked away from me quicker than you could say bigot. I’m more than a little bit scared, having been warned off saying anything about this couple, for my own personal welfare – a few have reminded me that we are dealing with very wealthy and very influential people here.

Orwell and Huxley are in my blood, I remember my dad discussing, Brave New World, Animal Farm and 1984 with me from an absurdly young age. I was brought up to believe that free speech and free expression are sacrosanct, that the press must be liberated from state-control and that everyone should have the right to speak their mind, no matter how unpopular their views. One of the difficulties that my father has with my Catholicism (him being a staunch Anglican) is that thanks to his influence I have always been a fierce individualist, always resisting the pressure of group-think. The same is still true, I became convinced of the truth of Catholicism, on the strength of the evidence and after some critical thinking and against some pretty fierce opposition. Again and again my dad emphasised that it does not matter what other people think of you, all that counts is being true to yourself and able to account for your own views. Mind you, my dad is probably every bit as foolhardy as I, on a family weekend to Canterbury back in 1983, as my sister and I were making a bee-line for Morelli’s the famous ice-cream parlour, a group of activists were standing outside forming an impromptu conga-line with some hastily scrawled placards and shouting “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out!” What did my dad do? Returned each chant with “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, In, In, In!”, while my mum looked on in fear in and dread, hissing “Stop it Ken, you’re going to get your teeth knocked down your throat”! I’m still rather proud of him for that, truth be told – though translated into the digital world, it would definitely constitute a definition of ‘trolling’.

I was brought up to believe that we lived in a truly free liberal and democratic society, as a child at the height of the Cold War, I really valued the freedoms that I believed that we had. Disillusionment is proving to be an increasingly difficult pill to swallow. What kind of a world are we living in when I’m scared for what might happen to my family and children as a result of being forthright about my views on the internet?

I guess I still haven’t fully internalised Matthew 10: 16-42. Tough times ahead.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Making parents – the reality of the gay dads

  1. Anyone who puts themselves forward on a reality TV show makes themselves a hostage to fortune.

    Children grow into articulate, independent, and occasionally disaffected adults.

    “And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.”

  2. I’m confused. If this guy is a social worker and expert on child welfare, why were the couple refused adoption in the first place? They’re wealthy enough.

    1. That’s a really interesting comment Corin.

      On the Lorraine show here http://www.itv.com/lorraine/hot-topics/britains-first-gay-dads-the-parent-makers – they say that adoption panels are often still homophobic and consist of “the local vicar, the housewife and the policeman”. I’m not sure how true that is.

      But in this interview, http://youtu.be/PMM_wjs9qd8 – they explain that when they went through the adoption process they were told by the panel that they did not have enough experience with children and were asked to volunteer at a local centre for children with special needs. They then went on a cruise around the mediterranean to think about things and the idea of surrogcay just sort of popped into their heads.

      Barrie said that they believed that as a gay couple they were being treated as second-class citizens only fit to look after “third-class” citizens in some people’s minds instead of being given a healthy child.

      I’m intrigued as to what qualifications Barrie may have as a ‘clinical social worker, enabling him to supervise university students. which is, I believe, a specialised position. It seems that back in 2004 they moved to Spain with plans to set up a boutique hotel called “Hotel Babylon” specialising in honeymoons for gay couples and gay family holidays, but ending up setting up their own private school, which all seems to have gone a bit wrong. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-408666/Why-pictures-millionaire-gay-dads-children-dating-website.html#ixzz2xu3kyQXI

      Barrie ended up with a £90 ‘slap on the wrist’ fine for making death threats. Added to the fact that they put photographs of their children on a gay dating site, that back in 2011, Barrie was accused of lying to an ethics committee about his qualifications of being a nurse and that he seems to be a highly volatile character, going both by the abusive nature of his twitter feed (he frequently attacks people on the basis of having a lack of money or on the grounds of their appearance) and some of his temper tantrums displayed on this new TV show, it does give room for doubt.

      This big American blogger revealed the nature of some threats he had made earlier in the month and what seem to be his main drivers.

      http://theothermccain.com/2014/05/02/gay-baby-surrogate-drewitt-barlow-british-million/

      They have also been banned from company directorships in the UK for eight years. http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/pressreleases/insolvency-service-anthony-and-barry-drewitt-barlow-both-given-8-year-director-disqualifications-438470 – which they claimed would affect UK employment opportunities.

  3. The relevant authorities should be INVESTIGATING ‘Family Values’ (if Any) and questioning the Moral soundness of both PARENTS potentially involved in ‘renting wombs’ here?! (Social Worker? That uses bullying tac tics and mind games to intimidate anyone that questions their morals?’
    ‘Maybe’ there’s a reason why both Drewitt and Barlow have very little (IF ANY) connection with ‘their’ blood relatives beyond a few? the Majority of those connected are ‘Younger’ possibly ‘more vulnerable’ and easy to ‘influence’ with tales of ‘Vast Wealth’ and ‘Celebrity Status’ perhaps?
    It concerns me however, that it’s not just ‘anyone’ that is maliciously attacked by the Venom of Drewitt if they ‘DARE’ Question his Integrity, but ‘Blood’ relatives’ too! Thus, creating a rather secluded envoiroment that only includes (in his own words)
    “……our families closest friends”
    One of which was sent to Prison some years back, Causing Welfare Workers/Police to threaten one of his close Family members with having her daughter placed on the ‘AT RISK’ register in the UK if she were to continue a relationship on his release! even then after a long sentence there were restrictions put in place in regard to where he could go at one point!
    Any ‘MORAL’ Parent would protect their child(ren) by claims made by POLICE that cause ‘CHILD PROTECTION’ to be necessary???……… Yet in this case it was the child that was pushed out of Drewitts ‘Close Family Circle’ and not the person in Prison!

    Caroline ~ You were right to be concerned!

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