Baby joy ... but change in the law could see a reduction in sperm donors NOVEMBER 01, 2006 PROUD mum Rachel Morris gave birth to her third child in April this year and is happy that she will never know the babys father. For the pregnancy was the result of an anonymous sperm donation which was organised over the internet. Last year the law was changed to give children conceived by donated FROZEN sperm the right to contact their father when they reach 18. But those who are born as a result of FRESH sperm donations have no such rights and as a result there has been a surge in the number of websites offering almost instant parenthood with no strings attached. Sperm Direct, launched in April last year, has more than 328 women registered, along with 500 donors, and says at least four babies have been born from sperm bought on the site. Below, 35-year-old Rachel tells of her fascinating experience, and we also hear from one man who regularly donates his sperm via the web but has no idea how many children he may have anonymously fathered. By CORINNE ABRAMS IT took Rachel Morris three minutes on the internet to buy the sperm she wanted to make a baby. The attractive 35-year-old could have easily found a man to father her child, but instead chose an anonymous donor from SpermDirect.co.uk. The website is exploiting a legal loophole that allows fresh sperm donors to remain anonymous. The Government changed the law last year to give children conceived by donated FROZEN sperm the right to contact their father when they reach 18. As yet, this law does not apply to children conceived from fresh sperm donated over the web. But in April, the law will change and websites such as Sperm Direct will no longer be able to sell fresh sperm. The new rules will say it has to be frozen and incubated for six months to allow screening for diseases such as HIV. Mum's the word ... Rachel with her tots Sperm Direct, launched in April last year, has registered over 328 women along with 500 donors who are regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases and says at least four babies have been born from sperm bought on the site. In April 2006 Rachel, from Putnoe, Bedford, gave birth to Coco, her third child, but the only one conceived with a father she never met. And in recent days Rachel has discovered that she is pregnant again by the same anonymous donor. She says: Im hoping that this time I will have twins. Rachel has a daughter who she gave birth to at just 20, and a son, six-year-old Jay, to a boyfriend who walked out when she refused to have an abortion. But she has always wanted an even larger family. She says: I have an image in my mind of a Christmas dinner, with all my children sitting around the table, talking and laughing. But after her troubled previous relationships she decided there would be one glaring omission from this ideal family picture A MAN. Rachel turned to Sperm Direct to increase her brood after paying £5,000 a go for several failed IVF treatments using frozen sperm at a private clinic. She had been turned down for NHS treatment because she was single. She says: I scoured the internet and eventually stumbled across Sperm Direct, which delivers fresh sperm from an anonymous donor straight to your door. I called them and discovered I could register online and even pick out characteristics I wanted in the donor. I said the man had to be quite spiritual, trustworthy, kind, and loyal. And because Jay is half-Nigerian, I wanted the new baby to be the same so he wouldnt feel too different. The most I know of the donor is that he is of Nigerian descent, lives in England is about 5ft 11in and is slim build. Ive seen a photo of him. After paying her £60 registration fee and £450 for the single donation, within a month she was standing at the door of her two-bedroom flat as a courier handed over a flask of sperm she was to inseminate herself with. She says: I was so excited. When the courier arrived I thanked him, shut the door and went straight to the bathroom to get on with the insemination. Despite Sperm Direct admitting they only have a 31 per cent success rate, Rachel became pregnant the first time. Coco Lilly, above with Rachel and Jay, was born nine months later in April, weighing a tiny, but healthy 4lb 8oz. She says: The midwives at the hospital kept pointing out how brave I was to have a baby with an unknown donor. But I was just worried that she could have big ears! Yorkshire-born Rachel, who lived in Australia until the age of 18, is now campaigning to have the new law banning the sale of fresh sperm overturned as it is currently the only method of sperm donation that can be done anonymously. She says: The people making these rules are not in touch. They have lost really good donors because they have taken away the right to anonymity. As for her donor, Rachel says: I have no interest in meeting the man. I think children can flourish just as well without a father. Some parents can be both and the kids are not confused. And I dont feel like I need to check him out. He must be a good person to do what he did for me. Donor's act of kindness RICHARD is a 36-year-old actor who has been donating fresh sperm with fertility4life.com for six years. He believes he may have made up to 30 donations, and although he doesnt know for sure, he thinks he must have fathered at least one child. He says: I had just finished drama school and was a poor jobbing actor. I saw an advert in the paper that said I would be paid £40 for donating sperm. When a woman chose him, he was sent a donation kit and given a donation time. The courier arrived five minutes later and then took the donation straight to the recipient. He says: I was nervous at first, because I thought the courier could be late, or turn up before I was finished. But it all went smoothly and now I must have made around 30 donations. It is like a part-time job. I made two donations last week. They have to take place at a certain time of the month, when the recipient is ovulating. Once I got the train down to Bristol and did it in a hotel room for a woman who lived locally. Richard believes he is popular with recipients because of the artistic side of his personality. He says: Im not sure if those things can be handed down genetically to a child but I think my acting generates interest. Richard no longer makes the donations for the money. He says: Now I am getting a lot of work, I dont do it for financial reasons. I want to help the recipients because they cant have kids. The firm do not tell donors if they have fathered children. Richard says: I am not married, and I wouldnt mind kids some day. But the thought that if I dont, I may already have a kid, is nice. I have told the company that if, in the future, the child wants to trace their biological father then I am happy for them to contact me. Richard says when the law changes banning the sale of fresh sperm, he will not donate at an NHS clinic. He says: I am busy now. I dont mind doing it for fertility4life because they send equipment around to my house and pick the donation up. The only people who know about Richards donations are his parents he has never told any of his friends or girlfriends. But he adds: If I was in a committed relationship I would tell my partner. It would be hard to explain why a courier was at the door at 2am otherwise!