Wednesday July 21, 2010

Sperm Bank Offers Celebrity Look-A-Like Donors

By James Tillman

LOS ANGELES, California, July 21, 2010 ( — California Cryobank, a 30-year-old fertility business, has launched a “Donor Look-A-Like” program which allows women to search for sperm donors that the company claims resemble Tom Cruise, Viggo Mortensen, Will Smith, and other celebrities or athletes.

The program has drawn harsh criticism from pro-life quarters for effectively turning children into commodities to be bought and sold. Dr. David Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, told (LSN) that the “program is another step down the road to the illusion of designer children.”

But Scott Brown, communications director for California Cryobank, has insisted that “this is not a designer baby factory.”

“We want to humanize the experience because we can’t show what the donor actually looks like,” he said.

California law requires that sperm donors be anonymous, and the company said the “Donor Look-A-Like” search was conceived of as a way to make the task of choosing a donor easier, given that one is unable to view a picture of the donor. The service, however, has had the additional benefit for the company of significantly boosting sales.

In addition to using the “Donor Look-A-Like” method, potential mothers can search by hair color and texture, eye color, height, weight, ancestry, level of education, area of education, and religion.

“Tragically, the reproductive assistant industry in the USA is totally unregulated,” Stevens told LSN. “What anyone can conceive, they can do – from killing embryos that don’t have the sex or traits the parents desire to human cloning.”

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics currently offer embyros screened to have specific characteristics, such as blue eyes or blond hair. Others offer gender selection and screening for cancer tendencies.

Dr. Stevens said that, “It is past time that we put limits on the ‘anything goes’ absolute right to reproduction where those born and unborn pay the price of their parent’s whims.”

A recent, unprecedented study on donor-conceived children found that they were more likely to be delinquent or have substance abuse problems than children raised by their parents.

Stevens also pointed out in many cases the users of “Donor Look-A-Like” might have their desires frustrated.

“They are selling an illusion,” he said. “If by chance it works in a specific case, without sex selection you may get a daughter, not a son, that looks like Rob Lowe. Not a pretty sight!”

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