April 14, 2024

Sperm donors: there’s an app for that in London

Just like ordering a pizza

Now you can order a daddy in London as easily as a pizza. The London Sperm Bank has released an iPhone app which allows women to browse through men and select their sperm based upon characteristics like ethnicity, occupation, personality type, and eye color. The cost is £950 (about US$1200) which can be paid through the app.

The app also lets women create a wish list so that they can customize their sperm donor. When the right sperm arrives, they will receive a notification. If it appeals to them, it will be couriered to the woman’s fertility service.

“You make all the transactions online, like you do anything else these days,” said Dr Kamal Ahuja, scientific director of the London Sperm Bank. “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.”

Early last month Dr Ahuja described the high quality of his product in BioNews. He stressed that it had been approved by the UK’s fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority: “Ordering sperm from an online catalogue or an app does not trivialise treatment … Donor recruitment according to the old model of advertising is unlikely to succeed, but by embracing new technologies we have shown that it can thrive and prosper.”

The news of the app was relayed in the media with the kind of ribald but quizzical treatment that most new artificial reproduction technologies receive. But there were critics. “How much further can we go in the trivialisation of parenthood? This is reproduction via the mobile phone,” said Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics. “It’s digital dads. Choose daddy. This is the ultimate denigration of fatherhood.”

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