ABC News’ Mikaela Conley reports:

Gingers may not be feeling the love these days. Cryos International, the largest sperm bank in the world, has closed its door to redheads — at least for the moment, according to a report in the International Business Times.

“I do not think you chose a redhead, unless the partner, for example, the sterile male — has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads,” Ole Schou, director of Cryos International, told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.”

Ouch.

The bank has reached its capacity of 70 sperm liters, with 600 donors on its waiting list. While ginger swimmers sell “like hotcakes” in Ireland, Schou said few people outside the Emerald Isle are as eager to have a redheaded baby.

Demand for sperm is everywhere, Schou told the Danish newspaper, particularly from men who are tall, with brown eyes and dark hair are the biggest sellers. Much of the demand for tall, dark and handsome comes from southern Europe, including Spain, Italy and Greece, Schou reported. But many Scandinavians also demand the look, in hopes of veering away from the typical blonde and blue-eyed Danish baby, Schou told the newspaper. Indian sperm is also reportedly in high demand and short supply because sperm is not allowed to be legally exported outside of India.

The only continent where sperm has not been sent is Antarctica. Depending on the quality of the sperm, men can make 250 to 500 kroner in Denmark… that is, as long as he’s not a redhead.

(via ABC News)

For those parents who don’t want a red-headed child and are veering away from red-haired sperm donors:

The people are (from the left): my maternal aunt, my mom, my maternal grandmother, and my paternal aunt’s daughter (aka my cousin Heather).  (This picture is from exactly 29 years ago and a real Polaroid, thus the quality is not so good.)

My mother and aunt are the granddaughters of a redhead.  My mom is also the mother of a redhead (me).  My cousin is the great-granddaughter of a redhead.

The man in that picture is my father.  The little girl is me.  (I was 2.)  My father is 5’10” or so, dark hair, green eyes, fairly dark skin for a white dude.  My mom is 5’7”, light brown/dark blonde hair, blue eyes, light-to-medium skin.

Neither parent has red hair, yet I do.  I’m not short. I’m 5’6”, which is average, except when you factor in that I have scoliosis and may have had a bit of my growth stunted due to hormonal reasons.  (I was 5’3”-5’4” when I was 10 or 11, and began puberty very early.)  My height should’ve been ~5’9”, had I been able to grow properly.

See the woman with the very dark hair?  That’s my grandmother.  She’s the daughter of a red-haired man.  She clearly didn’t end up a ginger.  She was short, though.

And see the man on the right?  He was the son of a red-haired woman.  He had dark hair.  He had medium skin.  He was 6’+ tall.  Clearly, not a short man.  Clearly, not a ginger.

So, if you think that having a parent with red hair will make someone a redhead, then you are mistaken.

In my family, I had 2 great-grandparents with red hair.  I have one cousin who descends from one of these ancestors that ended up with red hair.  I have another cousin who comes from non-red-haired great-grandparents of darker haired, darker eyed, and somewhat darker skin and still ended up with red hair.  I have more gay and lesbian cousins than I do red-haired cousins.  (I bring this up, because I’ve used basically the same argument [having straight parents doesn’t guarantee a straight child] with friends and comparing it to hair color.)

Genetics aren’t something that you can just make a snap judgment on.  You can’t know what a child will look like just because you have one parent with a certain set of characteristics.  Hair color is a phenotype.  Sure, the kid will probably end up with the gene for red hair, but unless the particular egg that that kid comes from happens to have all the requisite genes for red hair, then the kid won’t be a redhead.  (Red hair is recessive, so it’s kind of a fluke thing.)


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.