While genetic engineering is still not used around the world due to a number of reasons, British women can select a dad for their future children by the physical characteristics now.
While genetic engineering is still not used around the world due to a number of reasons, British women can select a dad for their future children by the physical characteristics now. This is possible due to a legal application Order a Daddy that is considered the first of its kind in the world.
A woman chooses a sperm donor by looking at the physical characteristics of the “dad”: eye color, height, etc. Educational level, occupation, and features of character are also included in the profiles of the applicants. The woman then pays £950 via the same application, and a sample of sperm is sent to one of the local fertility clinics for usage.
About a half of all IVF clinics around Britain are registered to use the service officially. The number includes NHS and private institutions around the country. The application was also approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the IVF regulator.
Women looking for their ideal sperm donor can even set up a “wish list” alert, which will tell them when a donor with the desired characteristics becomes available.
The London Sperm Bank said the app allowed women to order sperm just as they would carry out any other online transaction.
However, critics said the app trivialised parenthood. Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “How much further can we go in the trivialisation of parenthood? This is reproduction via the mobile phone. It’s digital dads. Choose Daddy. This is the ultimate denigration of fatherhood.”
Women are encouraged to browse and make their selections in much the same way as ordering from, say, Marks & Spencer. They can even view “new arrivals”.
Users of the app can narrow down their search by selecting race, nationality, hair and eye colour, skin tone, height and weight. They can then select the level of education they would consider, from secondary school qualifications up to postgraduate degrees and doctorates.
There is a choice of applicants from a wide range of professions and jobs, including law, medicine, finance, engineering, hospitality, the performing arts and creative work.
Once women have narrowed down their search they get a description of the sperm donor’s personality. For example, an arts administrator with blue/green eyes, light brown hair and an MA in administration and cultural policy is described on the app as a “reserved, intelligent and lovable person”. A lawyer with brown eyes and dark brown hair is described as having “a strong character” and being “articulate and deep thinking. He showed particular passion about his photography.”
A third-degree black belt martial arts instructor is described as “shy at first” but “a profound thinker” and “well-mannered”. A jeweller who has brown eyes and dark brown hair and is a pagan is described as a “a very calm and spiritual person. He feels passionately about the environment and loves spending time exploring on his bike and connecting with the natural world.”
Dr Kamal Ahuja, scientific director of the London Sperm Bank, said: “You make all the transactions online, like you do anything else these days. This allows a woman who wants to get a sperm donor to gain control in the privacy of her own home and to choose and decide in her own time. We think this is the first of its kind in the world.”