Lesbians told by CSA to name the fathers of 'pickle jar' babies

A lesbian couple's do-it-yourself artificial insemination has led to the Child Support Agency demanding the names of the two sperm donors who enabled the women to get pregnant.

Dawn and Lisa Whiting, who went through a gay "marriage" ceremony at a pub last October, have already sparked a furious outcry from pro-family campaigners who accuse them of acting against nature and their children's future welfare.

Lisa Whiting, 24, a former RAF cook, conceived her baby daughter Terri, aged five months, using a syringe to extract sperm stored in a pickle jar. Her partner Dawn, a 21-year-old amateur boxer, is now four months pregnant after using the same method.

Now the Child Support Agency wants to track down the two men who donated their sperm to make them pay maintenance because Lisa and Dawn are living on state benefits.

A CSA spokesman said: "Child support legislation requires any parent, with care of a child who is in receipt of certain benefits, such as income support, to cooperate with the agency in naming the absent parent." A parent who does not co-operate risks having their income support cut by 40 per cent.

The women would not have been targeted by the agency had their pregnancies resulted from sperm donation from a licensed fertility clinic. Dawn Whiting had been turned down for NHS treatment and the couple could not afford treatment at a private clinic.

The CSA said that tracking an absent father did not begin until a child was born but Lisa Whiting will soon come under pressure to name her daughter's father. She is understood to be reluctant to do so because she does not want him to seek access on his release from prison, where he is serving a sentence for arson and burglary.

A spokeswoman for Stonewall, the gay rights group, said the organisation "supported absolutely" the right of the two women to live together as partners and found a family. But Dawn Whiting was being unfairly discriminated against simply because she was unable to afford private treatment at a licensed clinic. "We think it should be possible for a lesbian couple to contract to be the two parents, just like heterosexual parents with fertility problems."

The couple, who share a home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, strongly defended their decision to opt for DIY insemination. "Our daughter Terri Leigh Ann is getting a good upbringing and we have nothing to be ashamed of," Dawn told their local paper, the Evening Telegraph. "It will be the same with the new baby. We have a loving and stable relationship in which to bring up children.

"We wanted a sister or brother for Terri Leigh Ann and we didn't want there to be a big age gap between them. We want Terri to go out with boys. If I have a son he'll go out with girls. We're not going to give them what you would call a gay upbringing."

But some pro-family groups were shocked. Yvonne Stayt of Concern for Family and Womanhood said: "It's devilish, absolutely disgusting and against nature."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Telecoms - OTE £23,000

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has bec...

Recruitment Genius: Front of House Team Member

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This strategic outsourcing and energy se...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen