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Surfing for sperm: Reproduction in cyberspace

Creating Families, Inc.
Cyberspace is becoming a lucrative place for sperm banks to advertise  
July 24, 1998
Web posted at: 10:35 a.m. EDT (1035 GMT)

From CNN Correspondent Rusty Dornin

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- The first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was called the miracle of modern science in July of 1978. Twenty years later, Lani Krantz surfs the Net looking for her own miracle -- the perfect sperm donor.

"It was convenient," Krantz said. "I was able to do it when I decided I wanted to do it as opposed to having to arrange my work schedule, my personal schedule."

Cyberspace is rapidly becoming a lucrative place for sperm banks to advertise.

Pacific Reproductive Systems in San Francisco went on-line about a year and a half ago.

"Our business increased about 25 percent since we went on-line, said founder Sherron Mills. "We started getting a lot of e-mail and questions about donors."

A growing number of lesbian couples use sperm banks to get pregnant. For Clair Slemmer, the Internet makes shopping for donor dads easier.

Frozen sperm
Frozen sperm awaits the call from Web surfers  

"I can do it in my home; I can do it in my off-hours," Slemmer said. "I can say, 'hey Connie, come here -- this guy teaches summer school for kids.'"

What some like about the Web is there is plenty of free information so wanna-be-moms can narrow down their choices. But if you want in-depth medical information, you'll have to pay for it.

For example, one 15-page donor history form costs $15 and lists medical histories from the donor, his parents and grandparents.

And will all this stuff on the World Wide Web, orders are pouring in from around the globe.

"Japan, all parts of Europe and Israel -- people have found us there and we've gotten inquiries, and then we've been shipping to those countries," Mills said.

There is good reason to search far and wide for the perfect donor.

"I just want a happy kid, and I want every way I can to optimize that," Slemmer said.

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