How to ‘design’ your unborn baby

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Most parents-to-be are vocal about wishing for a healthy bundle of joy however there is a trend worldwide appealing to those that want 'designer babies'.

Essentially there is a market emerging for ‘ beautiful' eggs and sperms, ‘celebrity look-a-like' sperm and even ways to pre-select the gender of your child.

BeautifulPeople.com, self-defined "as the dating site with a strict ban on ugly people," announced on June 21 the launch of their virtual sperm and egg bank.

The site's founder Robert Hintze said, "Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people. But everyone - including ugly people - would like to bring good looking children in to the world, and we can't be selfish with our attractive gene pool."

Greg Hodge, the managing director, explained, "BeautifulPeople.com has launched a fertility introduction service to help members and non-members alike procreate" via their "Fertility Forum."

However BeautifulPeople.com are not alone. The California Cryobank (CCB) offers a service called ‘Donor Look-a-Likes' that began in July 2009.

Scott Brown, director of communications for CCB, told Relaxnews on August 11, "Our program predates all the beautiful people stuff and that donor look-a-likes is meant to personalize and humanize the donor selection process. It was never intended to have anything at all to do with the physical appearance of the future child."

On the CCB's site Donor Look-a-Likes section there is a box to search for male celebrities like Prince William of Wales, American heartthrob Zac Efron, Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho, ‘Mr. Big' from Sex and the City Chris Noth and even the late singer-songwriter Kurt Cobain. Take a look: http://www.cryobank.com/Donor-Search/Look-A-Likes/

"Since we are unable to disclose the adult donor photos due to confidentiality reasons it was suggested that we do Donor Look-a-Likes to give the clients a general sense of what the donor looks like," continued Brown.

"We explain to the clients that no celebrity is meant as an exact match for any donor, nor should they assume that their future children will look like any celebrity listed."

If you want to see what your celebrity-mix child might look like take a look at online tools like MakeMeBabies.com ($9.99-19.99/€7.75/15.50) or MorphThing (free) that requires uploading your photo and selecting the celebrity of your choice.

Also in the United States, Mexico, India and Asia there are different companies like The Fertility Institutes that offer gender selection programs, family balancing and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), screening embryos for genetic diseases.

According to the FertilityProRegistry, a US network of certified reproductive endocrinologists, the costs for ensuring your have a ‘boy' instead of a ‘girl' (or vice-versa) before conception can cost between $2000-4,000 (€1553-3105) plus in-virto fertilization around $3500 (€2717).

However, in Taiwan and Thailand it is estimated to cost between around $9,000 (€6987) and Gab Kovacs, MD, an Australian pioneer in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Monash University in Melbourne, explained in March the procedure could cost Australians between $10,000-15,000 (€7763-11,645) when the nation was considering lifting the ban on gender selection.

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