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The Future of Sperm

Posted July 20, 2010 to photo album "The Future of Sperm"

The reproductive technology at the heart of The Kids Are All Right is, as Joel Bleifuss reports, part of the wild and wacky history around artificial insemination.

Slide 1: The New Family Comedy
Slide 2: The New Family Drama
Slide 3: The Old Family Drama
Slide 4: The Old Family Scandal
Slide 5: The Family Scandal Today
Slide 6: The Making of the New Family
Slide 7: The Marketing of the New Family
Slide 8: The Beautiful New Family
Slide 9: The New Family Horror Story
Slide 10: The Forbidden Future Family
Slide 11: The Super Smart Future Family
Slide 12: The Future of Family Secrets
Slide 13: The Future Fight for Family
Slide 14: The Future of Sperm
Slide 11: The Super Smart Future Family

Slide 11: The Super Smart Future Family

Add to the search for beauty and the beast the desire for brainiacs, and you have Robert Graham’s Repository for Germinal Choice, a sperm bank that specialized in the semen of the intellectually gifted. Between 1980 and 1999, the Repository provided sperm that fathered more than 200 children—however none of them were the offspring of the three Nobel Prize winners Graham recruited for his scheme. David Plotz, in his book The Genius Factory, explores Graham’s attempt to raise the IQ of the nation. “He thought too many stupid people were having too many children,” said Plotz. “He wanted to change the world one sperm at a time.” While the success of Graham’s experiment is unknown, what he did succeed at was change the way that sperm was marketed. Today, consumers wanting to buy some sperm are able to peruse donor information, and pick out the attributes that are most important to them in a sperm contributor—height, weight, color of eyes, kind of hair and ethnic background.