BeautifulPeople.com says it's creating a fertility introduction site for its members, and eventually -- gasp -- even the unattractive. The online forum is a place where people can discuss reproductive issues and move forward if they find a match, an effort to help infertile couples and single women.
"Initially, we hesitated to widen the offering to non-beautiful people," Robert Hintze, a founder of the site, said in a statement. "But everyone -- including ugly people -- would like to bring good-looking children into the world, and we can't be selfish with our attractive gene pool."
The 8-year-old controversial dating site claims 600,000 members from 190 countries. So far, 150 of them said they'd be interested in donating to a virtual sperm and egg bank, Greg Hodge, the site's managing director, told AOL News.
"They've agreed this is something they'd be interested in doing," he said.
The forum was created in response to requests from fertility clinics to advertise on the site. Instead, Hodge said, the site decided to add the forum, with links to various governing bodies that oversee fertility around the world and a link to a site with credible fertility clinics. Hodge said the site hasn't entered into partnerships with fertility clinics and isn't making any money from the fertility forum.
"There is a huge shortage of donors around the world," he said. "One of the strongest prerequisites for donors is attractiveness and intelligence.
"We decided to create our own platform for members to discuss this polarizing issue," he said. "Should they be interested in moving forward with helping infertile single women and couples unable to conceive ... we've given them access to credible information."
BeautifulPeople member Parissa Mobasher told ABC News that she's joined the virtual sperm and egg bank, and might use it to find a sperm donor or to donate her eggs if she decides not to have kids.
"I know it sounds really shallow in the context of BeautifulPeople, but if you look at human nature, the initial attraction is the exterior," Mobasher, 42, of London, told the network. "It's that extra edge in life."
Bioethist Arthur Caplan said the venture is a form of eugenics and is bad for society.
"It's pure, utter nonsensical baloney, at best," said Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. "The genetics of attractiveness is something that we understand almost nothing about. There's no guarantee that attractive parents will produce attractive children."
The idea of the site's sperm and egg donation effort, he said, "builds the myth that beauty is gene deep."
"People who want to find an attractive partner had better beware," Caplan said. "A lot of attractiveness is determined by the cosmetics industry, surgery, the fashion industry and money. Genes are pretty far down on the list."
Hodge shrugged off criticism that the site is fostering eugenics, saying, "That's crazy." He added that the site has members of every race and ethnicity (though they must all pass the site's test for attractiveness).
"The argument of eugenics is out the window right there," he said.
And, he says, hoping for attractive offspring is nothing new.
"It's something that's been happening for many, many years," he said. "We can turn our nose up or scream it's unethical or immoral or whatever the case may be, but we're not that individual or that couple that cannot conceive a child."
The site bills itself as the world's largest network of good-looking people, though it recently cut 5,000 members who gained weight.