'Sperm donation pair made £250,000'
Two businessmen earned £250,000 through an illegal fertility company providing women with access to sperm donors, a court heard.
In the first case of its kind, a jury was told that Nigel Woodforth, 43, ran the firm from the basement of his home in Reading, Berkshire, with 49-year-old Ricky Gage.
Nearly 800 women signed up to use the online service provided by the company, operating under various names including Sperm Direct Limited and First4Fertility.
Their website introduced would-be donors to women trying to conceive, Southwark Crown Court in central London was told.
Philip Bennetts, prosecuting, said: "In short, the website introduced men who wished to supply sperm to women who wished to use the sperm to impregnate themselves in order to have a child."
The women, having paid an £80 joining fee and £300 to use the service, would then choose from a list of men before the sperm was delivered to their homes through a courier company at the price of £150 per delivery.
Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, however, a licence is needed by anyone wanted to "procure, test or distribute" any sperm or eggs. The two defendants are the first to be prosecuted under the Act.
Gage and Woodforth, who first called themselves SD Limited and advertised on website www.first4fertility.com, face two charges of procuring gametes intended for human application, both of which they deny.
They are accused of procuring sperm for one woman between March and June 2008, after she filled in an online form with her partner and paid fees to the pair. She received the sperm in June but did not get pregnant. However, the couple began to have doubts about the company when the anonymous donor's name was mistakenly revealed to them.
Gage, of Old Bath Road, Sonning, Reading, and Woodforth, of St John's Road, Reading, are also accused of procuring sperm between October 2007 and November 2008.