`It is an abuse of this treatment'

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The Independent Online
THE DIRECTOR of one of Britain's largest test tube baby clinics said yesterday that a gay couple would never get surrogacy treatment in this country.

Peter Brinsden, the director of the Bourn Hall clinic, near Cambridge, which uses surrogate mothers for about 10 of the 1,200 couples treated each year, said: "It would not be acceptable here. The welfare of the child must always come above any thing else. We don't knowingly treat single people, gays or lesbians. It is an abuse of a treatment that should be reserved for women who have lost their wombs or have other very good reasons [why they cannot carry their own child]."

He added: "You might say we are being a bit Victorian in our attitude but I don't believe providing a gay couple with twins is good clinical practice." The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which licenses IVF clinics in Britain, said there was nothing in law to prevent a gay couple obtaining treatment but they would have to overcome several hurdles to qualify. They would have to convince a clinic that they were fit parents; they would have to find a surrogate mother without advertising and would have to establish that they were the legal parents.

A spokesman for the authority said: "There is nothing in law to stop it happening but it would be unlikely. Our code of practice states that surrogacy should be used only where it is physically impossible or highly undesirable for medical reasons for the commissioning mother to carry the child."