chapter 7 & 8.docx - The Repository for Germinal Choice...

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The Repository for Germinal Choice During the 1970s, American millionaire Robert Klark Graham began one of the most controversial and unique sperm banks in the world. He called it the Repository for Germinal Choice. The sperm bank was part of a project that attempted to combat the “genetic decay” Graham saw all around him. He believed human reproduction was experiencing a genetic decline, making for a population of “retrograde humans,” and he was convinced that the way to save the human race was to breed the best genes of his generation (Plotz, 2001).[1] Graham began his project by collecting sperm samples from the most intelligent and highly achieving people he could find, including scientists, entrepreneurs, athletes, and even Nobel Prize winners. Then he advertised for potential mothers, who were required to be married to infertile men, educated, and financially well-off. Graham mailed out catalogs to the potential mothers, describing the donors using code names such as “Mr. Grey-White,” who was “ruggedly handsome, outgoing, and positive, a university professor, expert marksman who enjoys the classics,” and “Mr. Fuchsia,” who was an “Olympic gold medalist, tall, dark, handsome, bright, a successful businessman and author” (Plotz, 2001).[2] When the mother had made her choice, the sperm sample was delivered by courier and insemination was carried out at home. Before it closed following Graham’s death in 1999, the repository claimed responsibility for the birth of 228 children. But did Graham’s project actually create superintelligent babies? Although it is difficult to be sure, because very few interviews with the offspring have been permitted, at least some of the repository’s progeny are indeed smart. Reporter for Slate magazine David Plotz (2001)[3] spoke to nine families who benefited from the repository, and they proudly touted their children’s achievements. He found that most of the offspring in the families interviewed seem to resemble their genetic fathers. Three from donor Mr. Fuchsia, the Olympic gold medalist, are reportedly gifted athletes. Several who excel in math and science were fathered by professors of math and science. And the offspring, by and large, seem to be doing well, often attending excellent schools and maintaining very high grade-point averages. One of the offspring, now 26 years old, is particularly intelligent. In infancy, he could mark the beat of classical music with his hands. In kindergarten, he could read Hamlet and was learning algebra, and at age 6, his IQ was already 180. But he refused to apply to prestigious universities, such as Harvard or Yale, opting instead to study at a smaller progressive college and to major in comparative religion, with the aim of becoming an elementary school teacher. He is now an author of children’s books.
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