Tony and Barrie Brewitt Barlow fought prejudice in 2000 to become the UK’s first gay surrogate parents, but now they have a new battle, throat cancer.

Tony, 41, was diagnosed with the disease in February and has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy after doctors warned he would have just four months to live.

His partner, Barrie, 36, said: “The family has been stunned by this, but we hope he’ll be OK.”

Six years ago the pair hit the headlines after the birth of their twins, Aspen and Saffron to a surrogate mother in the USA. The couple wished to both be named as parents on their children’s birth certificates and their wish was granted after they took their case to the Supreme Court.

They will have a civil partnership in the summer.