Cryos International, one of the world’s largest sperm banks, released a statement saying that they will no longer be accepting samples from red-haired men. The branch, located in Denmark, which boasts to have caused 18,841 pregnancies since 1991 and ships specimens to 65 countries all over the world, says that their stock of redheaded semen is “about to explode” with 70 liters of redheaded sperm and an additional 600 donors on a waiting list.
“What we need is brown-eyed Scandinavians/Caucasians and Mediterranean donors and other ethnicities and races,” Cryos agency director Ole Schou said in an interview with msnbc.com. “We have nothing against red-haired donors. We just have too many on stock in relation to the demand for the time being.”
Red hair, a genetic mutation, is seen in a meager four percent of the world’s population. The highest percent of natural redheaded people occurs in Scotland with 15 percent, followed closely by Ireland with 13 percent. According to Cryos International, the demand for redheaded samples is high in Ireland, but that is still not enough to make the bank change their stance. The most coveted sperm comes from tall men with brown eyes and dark hair, though samples from musically inclined, intelligent and athletic donors are given a certain edge.
Schou later on released a statement that the bank is not closed to all redheaded people. If a male has brown eyes, he still has the opportunity to donate.
“The problem is that we are located in Scandinavia and ‘harvest’ donors here but we supply to more than 65 countries all over the whole world.” Schou later added. “They don’t always want Scandinavian donors out there.”
“There’s always going to be a preference in genetic sequence,” second-year and self-professed ginger Nicholas “Nick” Daugharty said. “[Hair color] is an aesthetic choice that people make without actual implication.”
Redheads, sometimes colloquially referred to as “gingers,” have been the subject of humor in the past few years. Since the South Park episode entitled “Ginger Kids” aired on Nov. 9, 2005, it is not uncommon for a ginger to be questioned whether or not they have a soul, which was the pivotal joke of the episode. The 21-minute episode characterized gingers as “people with red hair, freckle, and pale skin [that] are disgusting, inhuman, unable to survive in sunlight, and have no souls; all because of a condition called ‘Gingervitis.’”
“When people ask me if I have a soul, I just say ‘no’ and I look into their eyes and steal theirs,” first-year and self-proclaimed ginger Lily Wohl said. “I think [sperm banks turning away ginger donors] is awful. Redheads will go extinct and okay, maybe redheaded men aren’t the most attractive, but there are plenty of redheaded women who will want redheaded children.”
[It means] nothing,” Daugharty said of his hair color. “It just means my barber yells at me whenever I say I’m going to dye it. I’ve had boyfriends tell me that part of my attractiveness is my red hair.”
According to the Cryo International website, the cost of sperm ranges from $100 to $650, depending on the number of sperm that is administered and whether it is immediately ready for insemination. To qualify as a potential donor, the website asked that men are between 18 to 39 years of age, pursuing a higher level of education and engaging in a healthy lifestyle. There is compensation for those who donate; however, a specific price is not listed.
“[If I were try to donate sperm and be turned away because of my hair color] I would be like, ‘Shit, now I don’t get any money,’ but I wouldn’t be offended,” Daugharty said. “I have a pretty thick skin.”
“Who wouldn’t want a ginger child?” first-year and non-ginger Nicole Ouellette said. “I don’t care what my child looks like as long as he/she is my child […] I’m not spiritual, so I don’t care if my child wouldn’t have a soul. Lindsay Lohan’s a ginger and she’s pretty successful.”
What would she do if she awoke one morning with Gingervitis?
“It would be okay,” Ouellette replied. “I wouldn’t be able to dye my hair because it wouldn’t go along well with the freckles, so I guess I would just have to embrace my gingerness.”