No Need for Red-Headed Sperm Donors

September 19, 2011

Sperm is sperm, right? You need it to create a baby. And if you got an egg, you gotta find somewhere to get the sperm. According to an MSN article by Kimberly Hayes Taylor, a sperm bank called Cyros International no longer wants to accept sperm from red haired donors.

In fact, they really would like Caucasian, Mediterranean and a variety of other ethnic groups to be donating. But red headed Conan O’Brien sorts can hold onto their little swimmers.

When one is searching for their spouse, it must come up that they would want their offspring. Perhaps we don’t think about it like that…”hm, I think this person has a good genetic pool, let’s get hitched!” However, somewhere in the thought process of starting a future with your spouse there must be some conscious thought that you’d like to (or not like to) make babies with that person. So shouldn’t someone looking for sperm be able to have that same luxury? Even at the risk of being prejudice to a certain group of people (in this case red heads).

And then there are those couples that are trying to make their family look the part of their family. A couple with a strong Mediterranean look might want their child to mesh with the look of their family members. It makes sense that they would want to be choosy.

There’s no real guarantee that anyone didn’t have that random red headed relative floating around their genetic pool. It’s not like sperm comes with a promise for a certain looking child. But if it could, people would do it. Someone could order up their boy or girl, blonde or brown hair, green or blue eyes. And that perfect child could be created in a petrie dish.

I feel very strongly that most parents believe that they are doing their best in the decisions they make for their children. Even if they are misguided or clouded, they still came into parenthood with their best interests. So those parents must feel that if their child looks more like them, they will be better off. Could that rationalization be the same if a parent thinks that creating a blond haired, blue eyed girl would be happier and less insecure in their life so that’s why they custom order their sperm or baby?

As Humans, if we are able to control these traditionally uncontrollable elements, will we take advantage? Or is it possible that it’s a fuzzy line dictating what is appropriate control and what is not?

When I was pregnant with Drew, I didn’t have all the tests done to prove the percentage of potential illnesses. I felt so strongly that I was given what I was given and I would have to make the most of it. After Drew, however, I took all those tests with Gabby. I felt like I had to think about the well-being of Drew and make more informed decisions. By doing that, are we utilizing technology appropriately by knowing as much as possible or are we setting ourselves up to make decisions that are outside of our realm. Is some of this playing God and should we really be messing with it?

6 thoughts on “No Need for Red-Headed Sperm Donors

  1. I think this hits a little closer to home for those of us who have built our families in a non-tradional way. If you go the route of getting a sperm donor (or egg or embryo) why shouldn’t you have the choice of choosing genetic material similar to your own? I don’t think that we should be able to 100% predict the outcome, but if given a choice…when we first started our adoption process, we were asked “how do you picture your family?” In our case they were referring to international/biracial. When you have to take a closer look, things can be different. In our case the birth-parents chose us, and I think part of their reasoning was that the kids might look like us a little. We are just happy to have two wonderful children.

  2. I don’t know. I mean, if I were in the position to use a sperm donor for whatever reason, I think I would want to “design” a baby to look like me. I mean, I might choose a “donor” that looked like me or my spouse. But, isn’t this a slippery slope? We are pretty close to being able to “design” perfect babies-with the hair color, eye color, and sex we choose. It’s a fine line…but where is it crossed? Does that line move a bit with every generation?

    • I totally agree. I’m compassionate to parents’ desire to set their kids up for success and part of that is making life as easy as possible for them (and looking like their parents may mean that for them). Where does that end? If I could choose healthy children or what potential problems are ahead for them, I would. But should I be able to do that?
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