A website which supplies sperm to single women and lesbians who want to have a baby claims that it has found a way around Britain’s new laws overturning donor anonymity.

Controversial internet site ManNotIncluded is now offering a service which allows women to use sperm sent from countries where donor anonymity is still legal.



After 1 April this year, egg and sperm donations in the UK can no longer be made anonymously – meaning that any child born as a result of a donation can find out the donor’s identity when they reach the age of 18.



Last week, fertility experts said that the forthcoming laws had already created a shortage of donors and warned that it would lead to “fertility tourism” and an increased use of unlicensed donor providers, such as ManNotIncluded.



Use of unlicensed sperm could potentially cause problems over paternity rights.



The donor anonymity issue was also raised in a study by the science and technology select committee into fertility laws, which criticised the Department of Health for banning anonymity.



John Gonzales, founder of ManNotIncluded, said that he has got around UK donor laws by using sperm from abroad, in countries where anonymity is allowed. When in the UK, the sperm is in a constantly thawing state, further bypassing British anonymity laws which only apply to eggs and sperm that are frozen and stored.



The sperm is delivered straight to the woman’s door, along with insemination kits and certificates to show it has been tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.



ManNotIncluded also supplies fresh sperm through anonymous donors, which does not fall under the new rules either. But unlike frozen sperm, this cannot be quarantined and tested for sexually transmitted diseases, meaning many women would prefer to use frozen supplies.



Mr Gonzalez criticised the law lifting anonymity on donors.



“Neither donors nor recipients want it and ensuring sperm shortages can only cause misery. By using thawing samples from overseas, ManNotIncluded can continue to supply fully-quarantined, world class sperm, safely and anonymously, direct to the doors of women in need, whatever their sexuality or marital status,” he said.



A spokesman for the regulatory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said they were seeking legal advice, but also warned women against using the website. The spokesman said: “We are concerned about these plans to offer completely anonymous sperm and are currently seeking urgent legal advice as to whether the service can offer sperm in this way.



“However, we would repeat our advice that people should not use services that are not licensed by the HFEA.”



He said that people using unregulated services had no certainty about the “source, suitability, health and efficacy of the sperm they receive”.



Despite the anonymous system that has been in place for years, the HFEA has still kept and tracked information about all sperm donors and children born through donated sperm.



“This allows us to ensure that we can advise people about their genetic heritage and protect people from marrying people that they are genetically related to,” said the spokesman.



“As with any methods outside the licensed system for fertility treatment in the UK, the donor would technically be the father of the child and would be liable for legal and financial responsibility for any offspring born.”



A recent survey found that gamete donation had fallen drastically in Britain. Nine in ten clinics said they were unable to meet demand for eggs, with women waiting up to five years. There has also been a 30-fold decrease in sperm donors in the past decade, with the sharpest fall recorded after 1996, when the issue of anonymity was first discussed.



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