The difficulties that Mr Drewitt and Mr Barlow faced made them look, understandably, towards surrogacy. In 1997 they sought help in the US, where there are fewer restrictions on gay and lesbian partners seeking to have children than there are in this country. They found a donor, Rosalind Bellamy, whose eggs were fertilised in a laboratory. This is an unusual version of a rare procedure.
The whole question of surrogacy remains controversial, and raises legitimate ethical concerns. The Drewitt-Barlow arrangements are complicated, but the principles involved in surrogacy apply to all prospective parents. "Interfering in nature" to produce children in artificial conditions for an infertile heterosexual couple is, in principle, no different from such intervention on behalf of a gay or lesbian couple, provided that the prospective parents, gay or straight, are fit and proper candidates.
One thing is unequivocally clear. The reaction to this case, often homophobic and "outraged", and the decision by the Ministry of Defence to continue its ban on gays in the military, show that there is still a great deal of distance to be covered, despite recent progress on the age of consent, before gay people achieve real equality.Reuse content