In what’s believed to be a world first, a British gay couple are soon to become dads to three babies born to three separate surrogate moms – all of whom are pregnant at the same time.
The babies will be born within seven months of one another.
Surrey-based husbands Daryl Lee, 41, and Luke Harris, 50, met online in 1999. They had a civil partnership ceremony in 2012.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK, but it is not illegal for a woman to act as a surrogate for others provided it is not for commercial benefit. A woman can be paid ‘reasonable expenses’, to cover travel costs, maternity clothing, etc.
Daryl and Luke [pictured right respectively] said that they became interested in surrogacy after reading about Elton John and David Furnish becoming dads through this method.
Through an online forum for prospective parents, they met Becky Harris, who was already acting as a surrogate mom for another couples. As she was already pregnant, Harris introduced the men to her former sister-in-law, Bex Harris.
Bex introduced them to another friend, Viktoria Ellis, and the two women agreed to acts as surrogates for the couple. Once Becky had given birth to the child that she was carrying (her third surrogate baby), she too agreed to carry another for Luke and Daryl.
Two of the babies are biologically related to Daryl, a medical professional, while the third is biologically related to Luke, who works as a computer programmer. All three women, who are based in Suffolk, have used their own eggs and become pregnant through self-insemination.
In an interview with The Sun, Luke said, ‘We love each other very much, but despite that it has felt like something was missing from our lives – our home felt empty without children.’
‘While it is unorthodox to have three surrogates at the same time,’ added Daryl, ‘we couldn’t turn down what could be our only chance to have the big family we’d always dreamed of.’
All three women said that they were pleased to be able to help the couple to realize their dreams.
‘None of us can think of two people more deserving of the joy of fatherhood,’ said Becky.
‘I’ve been blessed with two children of my own … it’s about wanting to help someone have a family of our own,’ said Viktoria.
All three children are expected to be born between January and July 2015. The men say they are currently extending their home to better accommodate their new arrivals, and have the full support of both of their families.
Surrogacy experts have met news of the couple’s plans with caution – not least because surrogacy in the UK remains legally complicated. Because of UK law, the woman who gives birth to the child is always treated as the legal mother, and has the right to keep the child.
‘I think this is a really extreme case and it’s not something that would normally happen,’ said Sarah Jones, a trustee for not-for-profit organization Surrogacy UK, to the Daily Mail. She said that anyone using the services of Surrogacy UK would be recommended to use one surrogate only.
‘If someone wanted to work with more than one surrogate they would have to do that independently.’
More vocal in his condemnation was Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a gay dad to five children all born through surrogacy, and the Head of Social Work for the British Surrogacy Centre. He said to GSN; ‘Surrogacy is something that should be enjoyed by everyone who needs this service.
‘To use three surrogates is irresponsible … It is irresponsible of the intended parents but also of the three woman who are pregnant. Being a parent is not a joke but these jokers are making a mockery of the process.’
GSN was unable to contact Daryl or Luke for comment.
Image: Darryl Lee and Luke Harris via Facebook