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In a controversial new book, this defiantly single mother gives a step-by-step guide to having a baby without a man. When Louise Sloan's son Scott was born in June last year he was obviously going to grow up to be the spitting image of his father - a tall, green-eyed, handsome, intelligent actor with a wry sense of humour and a love of music.

"I did wonder when Scott was born how I would feel about a child who looked like a man I'd never met," admits 44-year-old Louise, who picked the father of her child from a sperm donor bank.

"Of course I could have adopted and I have no doubt I could have loved an adoptive child as much as my own," says Louise.

"But like other women I wanted that experience of being pregnant, of giving birth, of having my own child.

"When Scott grows older I will tell him about his conception, that I very much wanted to have him, and that a nice man made it possible for that to happen.

Removing that clause, gay rights campaigners argue, will merely remove discrimination against lesbian couples who want to have a baby together and jointly become the legal parents of that child: but where does that leave fathers?Louise has already been accused by one family campaigner of being "a woman screeching about women's rights while violating the human rights of her own child, whom she is deliberately handicapping by condemning him to a fatherless life".She has also been described as "the epitome of selfishness" and an "uppermiddle class white woman pursuing her pregnancy fantasies by making consummately selfish choices". Louise's story has been given added resonance with the political row in Britain over children created without fathers.Last year, around 82,000 single British women aged over 30 had babies, almost double the number a year ago, and there are now 3,000 members worldwide of the group Single Mothers By Choice.Around 100 lesbians in Britain a year have a baby through donor insemination or IVF.

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