Sociology Essay

724 words - 3 pages

It was very different a decade ago when Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow first made the headlines after they fought – and won – a battle to bring their twins, conceived via donor eggs and carried to term by a surrogate mother, home to Britain after they were born in America. When Eamonn Holmes interviewed them in 2000 after bringing Saffron and Aspen back to the UK, he told them: "There are people who are going to say it's not natural. [They] will say you've been shopping for the ultimate gay accessory."
Today, things have moved on in the Drewitt-Barlow household. Tony, now 45, and Barrie, 41, arrive at our meeting with not only the twins, now 10, but their three siblings as well – Orlando, six, and twins Jasper and Dallas, five months – all conceived, like their elder brother and sister, with donor eggs and surrogate mothers. There is a lot more acceptance of the couple and their family now than there was a decade ago, says Barrie, who turns out ...view middle of the document...

It's not just that they have kids, they have five kids; it's not just that they are rich, they are millionaires. So the surprising thing when you meet them is how ordinary they are in many respects. When you discuss the day-to-day detail of family life, they sound like any long-term married, big-family couple, feeling the strain of two new babies plus three older kids. Ask them how it's going with five rather than three children and they give you the same sort of answer any couple would. "It's put a strain on our relationship, but we expected that," says Barrie. "We notice the difference being older – we're knackered a lot of the time. And Tony and I don't get much time on our own together these days."
Like many couples, Barrie and Tony have clearly defined roles. Barrie is the nurturer; he says he gets broody and it was his idea to have Jasper and Dallas. "I do the cooking, I do the ironing. I organise the playdates, I take the children to school. I work out what's going to happen when Saffron's rounders game at one end of the county clashes with Aspen's cricket match in the other direction, and they both need picking up at the exact same time that the nanny finishes. I'm the family organiser, Tony is the breadwinner."

As if on cue, Tony mutters something about having to get back to his desk – it's Friday afternoon, and he's got a lot to finish before he can start the weekend. Tony has his work cut out running a family with the overheads of this one: the three older children are at an independent school, Saffron has a pony and all the holidays mentioned in passing tend to be of the Caribbean or Florida variety. All this on top of the initial price tag of getting their children in the first place: neither Tony nor Barrie has a figure for what their children cost them pre-birth, but both admit it was a lot, and some newspapers have speculated that, with various egg donors and surrogate mothers to pay, hospital bills, plus innumerable trips back and forth across the Atlantic, it came to at least £1m. None of it would have been possible were it not for the success of their clinical testing company, which they sold in 1998 for a reported £4m.

SOURCE – THE GUARDIAN

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