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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Internet sperm bank for lesbians
Sperm Bank
The sperm bank is targeted at lesbian couples
The world's first sperm donor service designed to help lesbians become parents has been launched in the UK.

Man Not Included will match up lesbian couples with sperm donors through the internet.

The team behind the service will meet both donors and recipients for vetting purposes, but the two parties will not meet.


This is a service that is wanted and needed by the lesbian community

John Gonzales, mannotincluded.com
The sperm donation will be made through one of a network of established clinics and then despatched to the recipients for them to carry out "home insemination".

Demand

John Gonzales, who is setting up the service, said he expected some criticism from people who did not approve of the idea of helping lesbians become parents.

But he said: "If a child is going to be loved and cared for, to me it doesn't matter if it is two women or a man and a woman bringing it up.

"It takes a great deal of courage and thought for women to decide to do this and so the child will be very wanted."

He said many existing fertility clinics and services were sometimes reluctant to deal with same-sex couples.

"This is a service that is wanted and needed by the lesbian community," he said.

Many lesbians desperate for children resorted to advertising or asking friends to find a sperm donor, he said.

However this did not preserve anonymity and could lead to complications for both sides in the future.

Registration on the site starts at 80 and it should cost a couple 480 to conceive a child through the service.

Couples would be able to state preferred physical characteristics of donors.

Sperm donors would be paid expenses only, in the region of up to 60 per donation.

Safeguards are also planned to ensure a single donor could not father too many children.

Long-term couples

Mr Gonzales said the service was designed primarily to help lesbian couples in long-term relationships.

But if it was approached by a single lesbian or a heterosexual couple, it would consider each case individually.

The site at www.mannotincluded.com went live last weekend and will begin working fully on 9 July.

The team behind the project is hoping if the idea takes off in the UK, it could be extended to other parts of the world.

But pro-life supporters have criticised the service. Josephine Quintavalle, Director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: "The whole idea must be vigorously resisted and men must see this initiative for what it is yet another attack on their role in society.

"The male must not be reduced to a vial of anonymous sperm, and the rights of children to enjoy real fathers must be protected."

See also:

09 Mar 02 | Scotland
07 Mar 02 | Scotland
18 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
16 Mar 02 | Scotland
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