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Gay men buy designer babies

Posted: March 27, 2007
Lab ... an expert carries out IVF - photo
Lab ... an expert carries out IVF

BRITISH gay men are paying a US clinic £33,000 a time to create a designer baby.

Twenty couples have already used the specialist surrogacy scheme for “two-dad” families — 15 choosing to have a boy.

Another 25 have made inquiries.

They are turning to the US because of the shortage of donated eggs and surrogate mothers in Britain.

The Fertility Institutes clinic in Los Angeles buys eggs from university students aged 18 to 27. They are fertilised by IVF with sperm from one of the men and implanted in a different woman, who gets £15,000 to act as surrogate mum. The scheme is designed to maximise the chance of an intelligent and healthy tot.

Clinic director, Dr Jeffrey Steinberg, said: “University students are not interested in carrying the baby. The surrogates are interested but a lot of the time they are blue collar. We get the best egg donors and the best women to carry the babies, which is the perfect combination.”

It is thought to be the world’s first scheme for gay men — who face difficulties in Britain where it is illegal to pay surrogate mums and egg donors.

Britain is making easier for lesbians to start a family. Last year, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt introduced laws proposing women should be allowed IVF without a father for the baby.

Critics of the US programme say it is the “ultimate in the manufacture of the bio-baby”.

Anti-IVF group Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: “On the one hand, in the UK, we are saying that a child doesn’t need a father, but in America we are saying that two fathers is a good idea.”

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