Why Can’t Gingers Donate Sperm?

When it comes to sperm donation, there are certain criteria that prospective parents want their donor to meet. These include being tall, athletic, and musically inclined.

Despite all these requirements, there’s one category that’s being shut out – redheads. Denmark’s Cryos sperm bank is turning away gingers due to low demand for their services, the Telegraph reports.


The world of sperm donation is one of the most bizarre and fascinating in existence. In countries where it’s legal to do so, parents can choose their donor based on almost anything. Height, ethnicity, hair color, academic and athletic accomplishments – you name it. Even the length of eyelashes has been up for grabs.

Apparently, though, the most desirable hair is red. In fact, some sperm banks have put out the APB for ginger sperm donors because they are in such demand. This may be due to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Ron Weasley making flamboyant locks cool again, but it could also be because of the growing number of sperm donor children who are finding half siblings through DNA testing and other online tools.

A 57-year-old theater director in Los Angeles recently discovered he has 24 biological half siblings thanks to the internet. He was able to connect with some of them over social media, and they have since met each other.

While it is incredibly rare to have red hair, people from all backgrounds and races can possess it. Although it is more common in Northern Europe and specific areas of Russia, people living as far away as Morocco have a greater chance of having ginger locks. That’s why many parents prefer to source their sperm from men with red hair.

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Stigma is a negative social attitude that imposes shame on people for their lifestyle choices, beliefs or health conditions. It is a major cause of discrimination and devaluation, and it can have a profound impact on one’s life. There are different kinds of stigma, including public, systemic and self-stigma. Public stigma is when people act negatively towards others, for example, if someone with mental illness is described as ‘crazy’ or ‘dangerous’. Systemic stigma is when those stereotypes are reflected in laws, institutions and policies that affect society. Self-stigma occurs when people internalise the negative stereotypes and start to believe that they deserve the negative judgement.

Sperm donors are usually asked to undergo medical, genetic and psychological tests before donating their semen. They are also required to provide photos, write a letter and give urine and blood samples. They may be asked about their drug use, goals, hobbies and talents. They might be screened for Zika and other diseases, and they might have to answer questions about their relationship with their biological children when they are older.

In order to get a positive result, they must be very open about their life and beliefs. For that reason, it is not surprising that many of them feel uncomfortable with being stigmatised for their appearance or sexuality. This can lead to a sense of resentment, which can be difficult to overcome.

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Medical Conditions

As if redheads didn’t have enough to contend with (from the carrot top jibes to the “is your carpet matches your drapes” comments), one of the world’s largest sperm banks recently made headlines for refusing redheaded donors. Denmark’s Cyros sperm bank started turning away potential sperm donors with strawberry blond hair because the demand wasn’t there, reports the Telegraph. The sperm bank’s director said that women choose a donor based on their height, eye color, ethnicity and more.

While the world’s media was quick to pounce on this development and proclaim that gingers deserve a spot on the endangered species list, experts disagree. With 6.4 billion people carrying the recessive gene that causes them to have red hair, there are plenty of options for new ginger babies out there—and the likelihood of redheads going extinct is extremely low, even with the decline in fertility rates around the globe.

That being said, the medical community is aware that people with lighter complexions and hair colors have a higher chance of developing certain health conditions like skin cancer and Parkinson’s disease. These risks are largely attributed to genetic mutations in the melanin-producing cells of the body, most often a condition known as MC1R. In addition, individuals with light-colored skin and eyes are more susceptible to harmful ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.


In a world where parental selection is common and parents can choose their children’s hair color, eye color, height, education level, athletic prowess, musical abilities and even the length of their eyelashes, it shouldn’t be surprising that prospective fathers and mothers have some specific requests when it comes to choosing their sperm donors. And sadly, redheads have been the victims of this kind of genetic discrimination.

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Last year, a cryobank in Australia launched a social media campaign to save gingers from this sort of eugenics, encouraging redheads to donate their sperm so that children could be born with their freckled faces and carrot tops. But despite the campaign, and a slew of redheaded celebrities including Michael Fassbender and Emma Stone, sperm banks are still turning away redheads.

It seems that the demand for ginger sperm just isn’t there. Denmark’s Cryos sperm bank, for example, has started turning away redheads because they say that their sperm doesn’t sell “like hotcakes.” It would seem that this isn’t the case across the globe, however, as carrot top sperm is still in high demand in Ireland (and probably some other places that don’t have as much snow).

Luckily, there are many other sperm banks that are happy to accept ginger sperm donations. And for those who just want to raise kids with some flaming locks, there are also plenty of other ways to do it: adopting, surrogacy and embryo donation are all options for anyone who wants a little ranga in their life.

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