May 23, 2024

We are not making this up

A dispatch from the front lines of the Reproductive Revolution in Florida

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow is expecting triplets with new partner Scott Hutchinson

A disproportionate number of very strange stories about the Reproductive Revolution originate in California, the land of fruits and nuts. However, it would be unfair to ignore Florida, a state which does a lot of heavy lifting in this respect. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Barry claims that although Florida has only 6% of the US population, it contributes 73% of the nation’s weirdness.

Inevitably, some of these involve bioethics.

The latest involves Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a British expat who has featured in BioEdge before. He and his then-partner Tony were the first same-sex couple in Europe to have their names on the birth certificates of their children. Now they live in a US$7 million mansion in Florida and run an international surrogacy agency. The last time we reported on their unusual family life they had four sons and a daughter created with the help of a variety of egg donors and surrogates.

The family has grown since then. Barrie and Tony were married in 2014, after a long partnership. Last October, however, they separated and Barrie has repartnered with Scott Hutchinson, a man half his age. Scott was his personal assistant for seven years and used to date his 20-year-old daughter Saffron. “I know people will think Scott is only after my money and all that,” says Barry. “He is, after all, 25 years younger than me — but I don’t care. I’m going to enjoy every moment that I can, while I can.

In October Barrie and Scott are expecting triplet daughters via a surrogate mother, selected because of her “gorgeous looks” and high IQ.

Tony is still part of the household and has agreed to be the godfather for the triplets.

Barrie told The Sun: “Tony is excited too, although it does underline that our marriage really is over after all these years, so it is very bittersweet. But we are all going to remain living under the same roof. Tony is Dad, I'm Daddy and while at the moment Scott is stepdad, soon he's going to be Daddy Two.

“We are happy, we want to co-parent our kids and that's all that matters. If people don't get it, that's their problem, not ours.”

Barrie is not at all self-conscious about his unconventional family life. He told The Sun:

“All of our biological connections are about to get even more complicated with the girls but we just regard ourselves as a very modern family. As far as we are concerned they are brothers and sisters. What does the biology matter as long as they are loved and have a stable home?

“There are far more dysfunctional households than ours, we are just unconventional, as our kids have three parents who adore them.”

Actually, even more kids are involved. Barrie’s policy is to mix his sperm with his partners’ so that the children cannot be sure who their father is. But he has also donated sperm to a lesbian couple in the UK and both of the women are pregnant and due to give birth in September. “There’s my children and theirs to celebrate,” he says. “After all these years there are going to be babies everywhere.”

Dave Barry has an explanation for unusual stories like this. “My argument has been for a long time that it's not so much Floridians are weird (and I consider myself to be one when I've been there 30 years), it's people who come to Florida: we are like the Ellis Island for weird, stupid people—they come to Florida to commit stupid acts.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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