No, we’re not headed for a world of designer babies. Nah. We’re already there. From the Washington Times, July 19:
Want your baby to resemble your favorite celebrity? A Los Angeles sperm bank is already one step ahead….
California Cryobank, a clinic that has been in the fertility business for more than 30 years, has launched a celebrity-inspired service called “Donor Look-A-Like,” which allows clients to search for potential donors who mirror certain “actors, athletes, musicians, or anyone else famous enough to be found on the Web.”
The list includes performers such as Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe and Justin Timberlake…. Athletes on the list include golfer Tiger Woods, tennis player Andy Roddick… quarterback Tony Romo and basketball player Jason Williams….
But, in an era when sex-selection abortion, in utero genetic manipulation and other techniques are raising concerns about a society that engineers and custom-designs children, Mr. Brown denied that his sperm bank’s service has anything in common with such “Brave New World” practices….
“This is not a designer baby factory,” he said. “We want to humanize the experience because we can’t show what the donor actually looks like.”…
The service has been wildly popular among those searching for sperm donors, causing traffic to the clinic’s site to increase 400%. There is no additional fee for the “Donor Look-A-Like” service.
The service offers a wide range of potential celebrities…. Psycho star Anthony Perkins… Mark Steyn… Jesse James.
CA law requires that sperm donors be anonymous….
Mr. Brown said genetics is difficult to “anticipate,” so the look-alike service is not guaranteed….
Sperm donor applicants must go through a rigorous application process, which includes testing for STDs and genetic disorders. All donors are required to be 5 feet, 9 inches or taller and have a university degree. The application process lasts 6 to 9 months, and only 1% of applicants are accepted. There are between 100 and 150 active donors.
Once an anonymous donor has been accepted, staff members decide which celebrity he resembles most closely….
According to the Cryobank website, “Donor Look-a-Likes are judged to be the best of our subjective abilities. Whenever possible, more than one celebrity is listed to give you a better general sense of what the donor looks like.
“At times, two or more celebrities listed for a single donor may not necessarily resemble each other. In these cases, consider the fact that many people look like both their parents, without their parents actually looking like each other.”
[HT: Laura Loo; photo via People]