Sex & Relationships

What Personal Characteristics Do People Usually Choose at the Sperm Bank?

There are a few elements sperm donors seem to have in common. Being a redhead isn’t one of them.

Photo Credit: showcake/Shutterstock

Despite Large scale use of  sperm bank,  in the United States, donation centers are not required to keep track of how many sperm donors walk in through their doors, how often they donate or of how many children are conceived using their sperm. 

That means a few things. For one, it gives us no reliable means by which we can calculate the number of children conceived using donor sperm. It also gives us very little information about who is donating sperm in the first place, and what they look like. But there are certain things worth knowing, and after analyzing over 1,000 donor samples from around the world, the team over at DrEd has made the picture a little clearer.

According to their research, sperm donors are most likely to have fair complexion, with brown eyes and brown hair. Most are Christian men who specialize in either business or accounting.  

The least common characteristics among donors included black eyes and “medium-brown” complexion. Also on the list of unlikely donors are redheads, though that bit may not be up to them. In 2011, the sperm donation circuit made headlines after officials at Cryos International, one of the world’s largest sperm banks, announced they would no longer be accepting stock from red-haired donors.  “We have just too many on stock in relation to the demand for the time being,” said Ole Schou, Cryos agency director.

On the religious side of things, it looks like Buddhists are the least likely to step inside a sperm bank. Scientists also appear unlikely to donate sperm. Though, that could be chalked up to issues unfolding outside of the sperm bank. As the authors of the study note, the UK has a shortage of graduates in science, technology, engineering and medicine-related fields.

But while education is an important box to tick on the application card, (some banks even charge an extra premium for sperm from a PhD), “brainy” isn’t the way most sperm donors are described.  A good sense of humor was the most common characteristic mentioned by staff when describing donors. A laid-back attitude came second, and white-teeth after that. Broad shoulders, defined chin, muscular, tall and handsome also made their way into the top ten descriptions.

If you want to know more little-known facts about sperm donors, like the fact that over 12 percent are,on average, obese, or that protestants are less likely than Jewish people to donate sperm, check out the rest of the study

Carrie Weisman is a writer focusing on sex, relationships and culture.