'Lesbian bitch' is big daddy of self-impregnation

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His PR adviser has dubbed him the "Stelios of sperm" and asks: "Is he the most controversial businessman in Britain?"

John Gonzalez runs Mannotincluded.com, an online service supplying fresh sperm to lesbian couples or single women who want to impregnate themselves.

A writer from the Daily Mail, posing as an aspiring single mum, described Gonzalez as having a manner akin to that of an insurance salesman. Outraged, she wrote: "The thought of any child being brought into the world through such seedy, commercial and soulless means still chills me to the core."

But the first babies are due in the next few weeks, and Gonzalez remains unconcerned by the controversy. "In 10 years' time, no one will bat an eyelid," he says. But in the meantime he is getting quite a bit of abuse. "Last week [in an email] I was called a lesbian bitch who wanted to eradicate men."

His online business represents something of a career change for the catholic father of four, a former painter and decorator and boxer, who learnt about the market when he moved into recruitment. Most recently he was a director of employment agency First Executive, which has now been wound up.

But Gonzalez now seems to have found a lucrative foothold in an untapped market. In the company's first year to June, it recorded turnover of £150,000 with a profit margin of around 8 per cent. Overheads are low, with just six staff around the UK and Gonzalez's Harley Street offices to pay for.

He has so far helped 180 women, three quarters of them lesbian and most of the others single heterosexual women, though his clients have also included two heterosexual couples.

The business runs on simple lines. Sperm donors are checked out for sexually transmitted diseases. They produce the goods, which are then transported in a flask by medical courier to the recipient, complete with syringe and instructions. Sperm has a shelf life of three hours, so the donor and recipient must live near each other. The donor is paid around £50, the recipient pays an average of £1,300, with additional genetic tests or a psychological profile of the anonymous donor costing extra. If there is no pregnancy after three attempts, the woman pays only for the company's costs.

Gonzalez predicts this year's turnover will quadruple, and in the following year he expects sales of around £1.2m. This is some return on the £16,000 he invested to start the company.

Mannotincluded has missed out on the hefty regulation that governs fertility firms. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority regulates sperm donation only when the sperm is stored.

Gonzalez has ambitious expansion plans, and wants to move into professional fertility clinics and egg donation programmes. He has already registered the internet domain girlnotincluded.com and is looking to purchase clinics around the UK in the next few months, as well as setting up walk-in cafés, or "conception caffs", to allow aspiring parents to view potential donors over a cup of tea.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez is taking Mannotincluded to Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, and will be in New York next month to talk to potential partners. Only four US states will allow him to ply his trade, and he is braced for an uproar when he enters the country. "My only concern is that some people there have a narrow-minded view," he says. "If you look at every crank email I get, 80 per cent are from the US."

However, he defends the morality of his trade. "It's a caring, sharing business. We are taking something out but putting something back in."

The jokes can flow in this line of work but Gonzalez is serious about the social benefits of the company.

"If you happen to be a gay woman or one who hasn't met the guy of her dreams, why should it not be easy for you to go through an easy process to have a child, providing you have the financial ability to look after it?" he asks. The firm asks potential mothers to give details of their financial status.

"Some women have to suffer the indignity of having a one-night stand and risk half a dozen diseases," he adds.

And he hits out at the hypocrisy of his critics: "If they are so concerned about the safety of women, they should be 110 per cent behind us because we are taking the practice off the street and making it safe. It's important to realise the risk women run if they advertise in a newspaper."

Gay magazines frequently carry ads from couples looking for sperm donors. Gonzalez emailed some and found they had often been turned away from "official" fertility clinics. He says there is even a risk that paedophiles could reply to the ads, hoping to play a part in the child's life.

Responsible companies like Mannotincluded, argues Gonzalez, could therefore provide social benefits while tapping into a lucrative market. "The fertility business - it's almost like reaching a desert island. There are lots of people there but no one has really found where the well is."