London, Sept 14 (ANI): Two businessmen in Britain are said to have made 250,000 pounds by selling sperm to women who were desperate to conceive.
Nigel Woodforth, 43, and Ricky Gage, 49, set up an online fertility company, which provided 'sperm for home insemination', and ran their website from the basement of Woodforth's Reading home,
The two are now being prosecuted for acting as brokers in the sale of "fresh" semen from anonymous donors.
The pair promised to "fulfil the dreams" of childless couples, charging them an initial 380 pounds to provide contact details from a list of men on their database.
These included descriptions of their "height, eye colour, ethnic origin, hobbies and education".
After selecting a would-be father, the woman would then pay 150 pounds for sperm to be collected and delivered by an independent courier firm. From this payment, the anonymous donor would receive 50 pounds.
Hundreds of women seeking to conceive used the service in a yearlong period between late 2007 and 2008, with police finding a list of 792 sperm deliveries.
Since 2007, it has been illegal to "procure, test, process or distribute" eggs or sperm to be used for human application without a licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
The watchdog claims the law includes organisations controlling the supply or transport of sperm or eggs.
It says the measures were introduced to ensure women wanting to conceive have access to counselling, and to provide rigorous screening of donors to help protect against the risk of diseases such as HIV.
Woodforth and Gage had been warned by the HFEA they needed a licence to operate the company under the new rules, but had continued with their highly profitable business.
In one month alone, they made more than 17,000 pounds.
The pair is the first to be charged with procuring gametes [sperm or eggs] other than in pursuance of a licence.
"Using plain common sense, you may consider it was straight-forward as far as the defendants were concerned," the Daily Mail quoted prosecutor Philip Bennetts as telling Southwark Crown Court.
"They were being told by the authority this is the law, you should apply for a licence. They say we don't agree, we are going to continue no matter what," he said.
The online suppliers say they do not need to be licensed because they merely acted as agents who did not deal directly with the sperm samples, claiming they were an introductory service for women to meet potential donors.he site informed clients they would have to contact the potential father and arrange for delivery of the sperm themselves, and advised they pay for their donor to undergo independent medical tests.
The pair, both of Reading, denied the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment. The trial continues. ANI)