MY WEIRD & WONDERFUL FAMILY
Wednesday 21st July 21:00 Channel 4
Cutting Edge goes behind the headlines to intimately portray how gay millionaires Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow's determination to have more children has affected them and their kids.
Barrie and Tony talk more to Channel 4 about how their family came about, and they offer advice to others in similar situations.
Channel 4: You've clearly been very honest and upfront with your children about how they were conceived. How important is it to be truthful?
Barrie and Tony: Yes we have been very honest with everyone; our kids know their own story. They have the facts and this is how we wanted it to be always. We knew that it would be hard to keep things secret and we didn't want to just do it on the QT. With the internet it's impossible to not let them know everything upfront which is what we have done. There would always be people or kids at school ready to tell them about what they have found. I don't think going into adulthood is going to be much of a problem for the kids. They are very well adjusted, normal kids.
Channel 4: Do you have advice for others, in a similar situation to yourselves, who might be considering the same route to starting a family?
Barrie and Tony: Our advice would be to never give in and don't take no for an answer! They are always ways to have a baby, regardless of your situation. Stand up for what you believe in and go for it when you're ready to go for it.
Channel 4: Can you describe your feelings with regard to contact with the biological mother(s) and why you've decided on anonymity for your new twins?
Barrie and Tony: We decided that we have enough women in our life and enough parent figures so we looked for an egg donor that wanted to stay out of the picture. This works well for Tony and I because of the strain it puts on the family having more people involved in their 'family'.
Channel 4: Before embarking on starting your family, did you research identity and attachment issues?
Barrie and Tony: As a social worker [Barrie], I have always been aware of issues relating to identity and attachment issues. It is my understanding that as long as enough information is provided along with love and understanding, respect and more love, those issues will not become an 'issue'. Our children know they are American and they know the story of their life, even though they know their surrogate and biological mother, they only see Tony and I as the parents.
Channel 4: How would you respond to people viewing this programme who might accuse you of devaluing the idea of a nuclear family and of 'buying' your family?
Barrie and Tony: The nuclear family as it used to be has evolved beyond belief over the past 20 years. More single parents both male and female, gay parents, older parents, three parent families even, so we cannot be blamed for the change, although we could be blamed for helping to push it along a bit faster!!! Lol... which we are happy about. As far as buying a family, we did everything we could be have a family by other methods like adoption and fostering. It was impossible for us to do this at the time as social services were not happy having a same sex couple making the applications. So the only alternative for us was to go down the surrogacy route. To be 100% honest with you though, we actually don't care what people think!
Channel 4: Do you think society in general has a long way to go before accepting alternative families? Barrie and Tony: Society has change in thinking towards same sex couples having children. We see for the past 10 years one side of everyone being up in arms to almost all being ok with it.
Channel 4: Can you sum up how your children have enriched your lives? Barrie and Tony: We wouldn't change anything about having our children, our lives are complete now we have them with us and we look forward to many more years of happiness with them.
Interview: www.channel4.com 19th July 2010
Read more about co-parenting and gay parenting options