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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 09:36 GMT
Human eggs for sale on internet
The site will help infertile woman have babies
An internet site which gives infertile women the opportunity to buy human eggs has been launched in the UK.

The website, called Woman Not Included, is believed to be the first of its kind.

It is a sister-site to the existing Man Not Included, from which potential parents can buy sperm.

John Gonzalez, who set up both websites, says there is currently little help for women who need donor eggs.

So far, 40 donors have signed up to the site from the UK and France.

Donors must supply details about their health history, ethnic origin, hair and eye colour - and can also include information about their academic achievements.

Infertile women looking for an egg donor will pay the site a subscription fee of around 145 and between 600 and 1,200 extra for each search of the database and introduction they receive.

Arrangements are then made for the woman to anonymously donate her eggs at a fertility clinic where screening, IVF and implantation take places, all at extra cost to the recipient.

'Sister site'

The site will pay expenses to the donor, but under UK law, they cannot be paid directly for their eggs under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulations.

As the database is global, a couple could who wanted to use a donor from another country could do so the eggs without the same limits on expense costs.

Mr Gonzalez, who is based in London's Harley Street, said: "There always has been that thing in my mind from day one of ManNotIncluded that there was going to be a sister site to help women looking for egg donors because that is a huge problem, certainly in the UK and the rest of Europe.

"Although there are a few self-help groups set up on the Internet to help people looking for egg donors these are fragmented.

"We believe this is the world's first comprehensive online provider of human eggs." Six babies have so far been far been born from sperm bought from the Man Not Included site, including two babies born to lesbian couples.

He said he expected the number of women donors signed up on the website to increase rapidly once it was up and running.

"We saw with ManNotIncluded we started off with very few donors and recipients but now there are more than 9,000 sperm donors registered.

"So we are expecting this to take on a life of its own as well, especially as it can be used in any country."

Mr Gonzalez said he believed there was a growing acceptance of the service he was providing.

'Perfectly legal'

A spokeswoman for the HFEA said while recipients were not allowed to pay for eggs, minimal expenses could be paid to donors.

She said these could cover travel expenses, accommodation and childminding costs.

They can also be paid up to 50 a day in "financial loss allowance".

She added: "As long as the donor is not being paid or coerced in any way, these arrangements are perfectly legal."

But Nuala Scarisbrick, of the pro-life campaign group Life, said: "These sites are encouraging people to act without any dignity or respect for human life.

"We are talking about the trade of human eggs and sperm - let us not forget that."

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