A LESBIAN couple from Liverpool are expecting a baby conceived using sperm obtained on the internet.
Jaime Saphier, 26, and Sarah Watkinson, 31, are among 19 couples to have bought sperm on the "Man Not Included" website to help them have a baby.
For a registration fee of £750 and a further £80 to search a donor database, couples can browse the site to order sperm from a donor.
Clients can choose a man of their preferred race, eye colour, height, weight and other life preferences.
Women are then sent a home ovulation kit.
Jaime conceived on her first attempt and is now nine weeks pregnant. She expects to give birth in January.
The couple, from Walton, turned to the website after their GP refused to help them conceive.
Jaime said: "It was fantastic. Everyone was really helpful and we found the whole process simple. Everything happened when they said it would and doing everything at home meant it was private and comfortable."
She added: "We know that some people will be against what we've done and they're entitled to their opinions.
"But as long as our child is loved and does not want for anything, I can't see how it is wrong."
Sarah said: "We are both very happy. We've waited for this for a long time.
"We started thinking about having children about two years ago but thought it would never happen."
However critics have raised concern about the moral and ethical implications of conceiving a child using the internet.
Moral theologian Father Francis Marsden, a priest in the Liverpool Archdiocese, said: "Its very sad. It is a cheapening of human procreation.
"The children will be deprived of any knowledge of their fathers and they will be deprived of a father figure in their upbringing.
"They will also be deprived of half of their genetic family on their father's side.
"The Catholic Church believes children should be conceived within a heterosexual marriage because that is the best thing for the child.
"Any conception by artificial insemination by a donor is immoral."
Father Marsden is priest at St Joseph's parish in Adlington near Chorley and lectures in moral theology at the Mary Vale Institute at Birmingham.
He added: "We have done this with cows and sheep but that doesn't mean we should do it with humans, it is reducing humans to the level of cattle.
"The whole concept of having children is God's gift to married couples, but our society has turned sex into a recreation without procreation and now ironically we have procreation without sex."
Dr Anthony Cole, chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance, said the procedure raised concerns about the true nature of parenthood.
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.
"I think probably there is a strong central ground about the importance of parenthood - a child should have proper access to their blood parents."
But Mike Homfrey, a spokesman for the Merseyside Gay and Lesbian forum, said the most important thing is that the child has a stable and loving family.
He said: "Everybody has different views on this but I think the quality and characteristics of the parent is what matters.
"The decision on how you have children should be left up to the couple themselves."
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A LESBIAN couple from Liverpool are expecting a baby after they bought sperm on the net. What do you think?
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