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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
UK internet sperm baby born
Both mother and baby are doing well
A baby boy conceived with sperm bought over the internet has been born to a British couple.

The parents, who do not want to be identified, live in south-east England.

The couple paid for sperm from a male donor through the website ManNotIncluded.com.

John Gonzalez, founder of the site which launched in the UK last year, claimed it was the first birth of its kind in this country.

'Over the moon'

The couple are understood to have turned to the website after repeated failed attempts at IVF and artificial insemination.

"They are over the moon. They had totally given up hope of having a child and now they are just so happy," Mr Gonzalez said.
They are over the moon. They had totally given up hope of having a child
John Gonzalez

He said both mother and baby, who weighed 10lb 2oz, were doing well and had returned home.

Mr Gonzalez said the first birth validated the work of the site, which has been widely criticised by family and medical ethics groups.

"We are delighted at the fantastic news that the first baby has been born as a direct result of using our ground-breaking service.

"MNI is about giving all women the chance to have children without fear of prejudice or discrimination.

"Here's to the birth of countless more MNI babies over the coming weeks and months," Mr Gonzalez said.

Another 19 customers are currently pregnant. A lesbian couple are expecting a child within a few weeks.

The MNI web site launched a year ago and has more than 5,500 anonymous male donors.

Couples pay a basic registration fee of 750 plus 80 for three site searches, which allows them to access the database of sperm donors.

Three donors are selected before prospective parents speak to a counsellor who provides information on personality traits as well as physical details. From this shortlist, the ideal donor is selected.

The woman's ovulation is monitored and when she is at her most fertile, fresh sperm is sent to the hopeful parent or parents.

It is then left up the prospective mother and partner to carry out the insemination themselves.

For each donation, a man receives between 50 and 100.

Critics say the site is unsafe and takes advantage of desperate wannabe parents.

Mr Gonzalez said they were now expanding their operation to Spain, Germany and the Netherlands and had received interest from across Europe.

Under fire

But the pro-life Medical Ethics Alliance called for the website to be closed down.

"This website is a gross abuse and commercialisation of fertility care, which has consequences far beyond the practice of simply buying sperm," said a spokesman.

"This should be brought under regulation and we think the practice of procuring a child over a website should be banned without delay."

Patrick Cusworth of pro-life charity Life said: "This is a grubby little process that demeans all concerned."

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates IVF clinics in the UK, declined to comment on the case.

But Suzi Leather, its chairwoman, advised women against using the internet to obtain sperm.

"Women wishing to use donated sperm are advised to do so through an HFEA licensed clinic where donated sperm is thoroughly tested and legal parentage is set down in law."

First British internet baby due
28 Jun 03  |  Politics
Internet sperm bank for lesbians
24 Jun 02  |  Health
Lesbian couple having internet baby
28 Jun 03  |  Merseyside

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