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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Lesbian couple having internet baby
Pregnant woman
The first "internet baby" is due next month
A woman from Liverpool has conceived after she and her lesbian partner bought sperm from an internet donor service.

It is one of the first such pregnancies in the UK.

Jamie Saphier, 26, from Walton, is due to give birth in January.

She and her partner, 36 year-old Sarah Watkinson, paid a website to match them with a sperm donor and provide medical screening.

They are among 16 couples who have conceived using the Man Not Included website in the last year.

The first baby is due to be born to a married couple next month.

Babies' ducks
There is concern that it is wholly undermining some of the building blocks of a stable society
Dr Anthony Cole
Medical Ethics Alliance
The two women say they turned to the service after their GP refused to help.

They ordered the sperm after selecting the race, eye colour, height and weight, and other life characteristics of a donor.

Ms Saphier says the couple know many people will be against what they have done.

But she said their child will be loved, and they do not see it as wrong.

Critics of the internet insemination process say the site is unsafe and takes advantage of desperate would-be parents.

Caring and loving

Dr Anthony Cole, chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, said it raised concerns about the true nature of parenthood.

Baby
Our donors are probably among the healthiest people in the UK in terms of being screened
John Gonzales, Man Not Included founder

He said: "There is considerable disquiet that this could be done on a commercial basis.

"There is also concern that it is wholly undermining some of the building blocks of a stable society."

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says it does not cover the website because it deals in fresh sperm.

Man Not Included was initially set up for lesbian couples and single women.

Its founder, John Gonzalez, defended his business.

He told News 24: "It allows couples to go on the site and select a donor who fits the characteristics of themselves and their partners.

"Our donors are probably among the healthiest people in the UK in terms of being screened.

"In the UK we have the highest teenage pregnancy rate.

"We need to look at that, not the fact that people want to have children that they want to bring up in a caring, loving environment."


SEE ALSO:
First British internet baby due
28 Jun 03  |  Politics
Internet sperm bank for lesbians
24 Jun 02  |  Health
Donating eggs and sperm
26 Jul 99  |  Medical notes


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