Sunday, September 6, 2009

Look-a-Like Sperm Bank: Searching for the Perfect Genes

This article discusses a new service enabling women to select donors based on the celebrities that they look most like. Although some positive changes have been made in recent years at sperm banks, I think the one below is completely outrageous.

By Kimberly Papa Wolfson, AOL News

Choosing the biological father of your child from a catalog filled with statistics ranging from eye color to ethnicity can make an intensely personal decision seem awfully impersonal. In hopes of helping clients feel more of a connection with a potential donor, Los Angeles-based California Cryobank has developed a new service called Donor Look-a-Likes, which allows women to search for potential daddies based on which celebrities they most closely resemble.

“The toughest thing to do when choosing a donor is to make a personal connection,” says Scott Brown, California Cryobank’s communications manager. “It’s easy to look at stats like eye color, hair, religion, ethnicity, and height, but without a tangible person to see it is difficult to emotionally invest in a donor. Because we can’t provide photos of the donors themselves, this is a way for clients to connect and for us to personalize the experience and give them a better idea of what the donor looks like.”

The service, which the company launched several weeks ago, has quickly become a huge draw for heterosexual couples, single women and lesbian couples looking for donors. California Cryobank has received 300 percent more inquiries since debuting Donor Look-a-Likes.

So which famous faces are the most popular among popular for donor-searching moms? “Fast and Furious” hottie Paul Walker is the most searched, followed "Heroes" star Greg Gruberg, Scott Caan, Ben Affleck and "Private Practice" actor Paul Adelstein.

Choosing a Donor

You might be surprised to find more average-looking actors topping the list instead of, say, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp taking the top spots. Brown says the reason regular guys do well is because heterosexual couples looking for donors, which make up 40 percent of their clients, often search for a donor who looks like dad. “You have to keep in mind that most guys look more like a James Gandolfini than Ben Affleck.”

Choosing who a donor’s celebrity look-a-like isn’t a scientific process. About ten staffers at the bank take photos of the donors and comb the internet in search of potential matches. Together they share their suggestions, and if everyone in the group agrees, they have a match.

“We look at specific features like noses and smiles, but also overall look and what type of guy there are, whether it’s an athlete, actor or a musician,” Brown says.

New clients aren’t the only ones interested in finding a look-a-like. Brown reports that over 50 former clients have contacted the company since the program launched asking who the look-a-like for their donor was, years after being inseminated. “That lets us know this is something very personal.”

So if you’re hoping your artificially inseminated offspring will be the next Tom Brady or Will Smith, choosing a donor based on their look-a-like may seem like a good bet. However, Brown warns, “Genetics is a tricky thing. We have Ph.D. scholars and athletes, but can’t guarantee a child will have those qualities.”


Paragon2Pieces said...

I keep up with California Cryobank's website and, when they introduced this new service, it turned me off.

I'm not surprised that recipients want to have some idea what the donor looks like (after all, egg donation recipients typically review many pictures of each prospective donor). But filling this gap by linking donor traits to celebrity traits sends the wrong message.

In my opinion, the proper way to respond to the recipients' desire to know more about donors and the resulting childrens' desire to know more about donors is to make donation selection an open, transparent process.

Anonymous said...

If you and your partner are undergoing IVF, there are some cases here donor sperm or donor eggs are needed. If you are facing the fact that donor sperm is needed, a sperm bank is going to be in the picture. Choosing one can be tricky, but choosing one is essential just as with choosing donor eggs.

Egg Bank

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