Why sperm banks are rejecting red-haired donors

The law of supply-and-demand works even in some European sperm banks, where redheads need not apply

Sperm from most redheads (like Conan O'Brien, for instance) are no longer welcome at Cryos International, one of the world's largest operators of sperm banks.
(Image credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis)

Attention all blue-eyed redheads: Your sperm donations are no longer needed in Europe. That's the word from Cryos International, operator of the world's largest network of sperm banks. Why are redheads being dissed? Here, a brief guide:

What's wrong with redheads?

Nothing. It's just that there are plenty of them throughout northern Europe, where many donors have blue eyes and blond or red hair. Denmark-based Cryos has closed its doors to these red-haired donors, claiming the 140,000 sperm doses from redheads that it has on hand are more than enough to meet demand. "Our stock is about to explode," says Cryos director Ole Schou, as quoted by MSNBC. Still, Schou says Cryos will still accept sperm from redheads with brown eyes.

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Is demand for redheads really that low?

Yes, throughout most of Europe — except in Ireland. Roughly 10 percent of the Irish population is redheaded, and demand for sperm donations from carrot tops remains strong on the Emerald Isle. In fact, their sperm sells "like hotcakes," says Schou, as quoted by TIME.

What kinds of sperm donors are in demand?

Tall, dark, and handsome. The biggest requests are for sperm donations from "men who are tall, with brown eyes and dark hair," says Mikaela Conley of ABC News. Not only are these donors popular in Mediterranean countries, but many Scandinavians are now "veering away from the typical blonde and blue-eyed Danish baby."

Sources: ABC News, MSNBC, TIME

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