One of the first gay men in the UK to become a dad through surrogacy given 18 months to live

Meka Beresford February 16, 2018
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(Photo by donbarrie/Instagram)

One of the first gay men in the UK to become a father through surrogacy has revealed that he has been diagnosed with throat cancer and given just 18 months to live.

Tony Drewitt-Barlow has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of throat cancer and is currently waiting to be operated on in Florida, where the family live for half of the year.

His daughter announced the sad news.

Speaking to the Sun, she said: “Dad’s really sick. He had cancer 10 years ago and had chemo but now it has come back. Now the whole side of his face is gone.

“They’ve given him 18 months to live if he doesn’t have the operation.

Related: Daddies’ little girl: gay dads face backlash online after revealing how much they spend on their daughter

“If he has the op, there’s a 50/50 chance he’ll live. We’re all devastated.”

Barrie, Tony’s husband, added that the whole family were “praying” that Tony makes it through the operation.

“I don’t want to lose him,” he said. “I don’t want to be a single parent. We’re praying that it goes well.”

The couple both grew up in Manchester on council estates, but now have a combined wealth of £40 million through their business ventures.

The pair made history in the late 90s after they became the first gay couple known to legally father children through surrogacy.

Twins Saffron and Aspen were the first children to be registered as having two fathers.

The couple also later had Orlando and another set of twins, Jasper and Dallas.

Related: Britain’s ‘first gay dads’ now plan three more daughters using embryos from a Brazilian model

The family made headlines recently after the dads faced backlash online for revealing how much they spend on their children, specifically their daughter Saffron.

Appearing on British television show Good Morning Britain, the Drewitt-Barlow family said that Saffron is given a £5,000 a month allowance and has a wardrobe worth over £1 million.

(Photo by donbarrie/Instagram)

Tony explained: “I have an app on my phone and I get push alerts when she uses my credit cards and it’ll be ‘Harrods £50,000’, ‘£20,000 somewhere else’.”

Many of those who watched the interview on This Morning were outraged by the way the fathers “spoiled” their children, with some people calling them “vulgar”.

One wrote: “Why are they proud that she spends so much on daddy’s credit card he gets over 30 notifications a day?! More money than sense.”

“I’m all for spoiling your kids but this is too far. Like she’ll think everything is handed to her when the rest of us have to work our asses off to even afford a decent holiday,” another said.

A third added: “‘People think i’m spoilt’ Yes you are!!! If £5k a month isn’t spoiled I don’t know what is.”

Related: Essex gay dads say local church supports them in gay wedding legal fight

However, the backlash came despite Saffron insisting that she would now look after herself since turning 18.

She has started her own make-up brand, with an investment from her parents, and will no longer receive her allowance from next month.

“From February, I’m not having that allowance anymore,” she said, adding that her business had sold 100,000 units in six days.

Barrie added that they were of course “proud” of their children but when the two of them pass away they will not be leaving their fortunes to them – rather making sure their millions go to charity.

He said: “We are incredibly proud of all our children, but we’ve told them we intend to leave a lot of our millions to charity as we want our children to get jobs and make their own way in life, just as we did.

“While we make no apologies for spoiling them, we have also taught them the value of money and we never let them forget where we came from.”

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