The first private fertility centre in Europe that exclusively caters for lesbian couples and single women opened today in London. The Harley Street centre does not yet have a licence to carry out treatments or store sperm, but its application is being considered by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
The centre's founder, John Gonzalez, opened the first website - mannotincluded.com - offering help in finding sperm donors to lesbians and single women in July of this year. He claims he opened the Women's New Life Centre 'in response to the uncaring and insensitive way in which lesbian and single women are treated by some clinics due to social prejudice and discrimination'.
Until a licence is granted, the centre will offer pre-treatment assessments, counselling and advice to women. Mr Gonzalez said that women coming to the centre will have the legal and ethical issues surrounding their attempts at becoming parents explained to them, as well as being told of the implications for their children.
Gonzalez believes that up to 800 women will use the centre during its first year of business. If it proves successful, he also plans to open similar centres in Manchester and Edinburgh. But some groups have accused the centre of turning natural procreation into 'a pick and mix stand'.