Yesterday, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) admitted it is launching an investigation into what it considers the abundance of “unethical” fertility websites.The body has become concerned that they could put the health of vulnerable women at risk, leave a generation of children facing future heartache, and have long-reaching legal implications for both mother and donor.Its decision comes in the wake of the trial of Nigel Woodforth and Ricky Gage, who netted £250,000 for illegally acting as “bagmen” via an online fertility operation they ran from a basement.
The insemination process, he says, was a matter for her alone.
He had honoured his part of the pact: the future was solely Clarissa’s concern.
If her pregnancy runs to term, she will be overjoyed and her dreams of motherhood fulfilled.
Divorced and unable to conceive with her long-term partner, Clarissa’s yearning to bear a child of her own was borne of an all-too-understandable desperation.
Like so many women who long to have children, she initially contacted a reputable and licensed fertility clinic where she underwent two cycles of treatment.
But with each costing £1,500 and involving a lengthy wait (in some areas of the UK, as long as eight years), thanks to a nationwide shortage of donated sperm, she became one of the thousands of women who have resorted to unregulated fertility websites.
But while these women’s desires are commonplace, the consequences can be anything but.
The couple’s liaison lasted little more than five minutes and was conducted, in swift and furtive fashion, in a city car park late one Friday night.
When their business, hurried and impersonal, was concluded, they shook hands awkwardly, wished each other a stilted “good evening” and left in separate cars, with no suggestion that they might ever meet again.