A sperm bank is a facility or business that buys, stores, and sells human sperm. Men who are known as sperm donors generate and sell sperm. The sperm is purchased by or for someone else to achieve a pregnancy or pregnancies other than by a sexual partner. Donor sperm is sperm sold by a sperm donor. But what happened to the enigmatic Nobel Prize sperm bank?
A group set up a sperm bank that only contained the sperm of Nobel Prize winners to breed the next generation of geniuses.
The History of Sperm Bank
A man named Montegazza was the first to foresee banks for frozen human sperm in 1866. He proposed that a man dying on a battlefield may beget a legal heir with his semen frozen and stored at home. While it took some 150 years, Montegazza’s idea became a reality during the Gulf War conflicts in 1992. Service members were able; some chose to freeze and save sperm samples before heading for a fight.
Scientists discovered that sperm could survive freezing and storage temperatures as low as -321 degrees Fahrenheit between 1938 and 1945. But surviving is one thing; operating appropriately during the conception process is quite another.
The first significant advance in the field occurred in 1949 when A.S. Parkes and two British scientists devised a way to protect sperm from damage during freezing by utilizing a syrupy liquid known as glycerol. Dr. Jerome K. Sherman, an American pioneer in sperm freezing, improved the procedure further in 1953.
The discovery, presented at the 11th International Congress of Genetics in 1963, sparked interest in the prospect of sperm banks. A decade later, in the early 1970s, the first commercial sperm bank opened. (Source: Cryobank)
Who Started Collecting Sperm of Nobel Prize Winners?
Graham, Obert Klark, was born on June 9, 1906, and died on February 13, 1997. He was an American eugenicist and businessman who made millions by manufacturing shatterproof plastic eyeglass lenses. He later formed the Repository for Germinal Choice, a genius sperm bank, to institute a eugenics program. Graham established the Nobel sperm bank in 1980.
Initially, Graham intended to get sperm only from Nobel laureates, but donor scarcity and the low viability of their sperm forced Graham to establish a broader set of criteria. These criteria were extensive and stringent: for example, sperm recipients had to be married and have an extraordinarily high IQ. However, the bank ultimately reduced this regulation so that it could recruit athletes as well as intellectuals as donors. By 1983, Graham’s sperm bank had 19 genius repeat donors, including Nobel Laureate William Bradford Shockley, a proponent of eugenics and recipient of the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics and two anonymous Nobel Laureates. The bank closed in 1999, two years after its founder died.
It had given birth to a total of 218 offspring. Graham’s overarching goals were the genetic improvement of humanity and the nurturing of freshly conceived geniuses. This type of positive eugenics aimed to increase the number of fit individuals in a population by selective breeding. On the other hand, Graham’s genius sperm bank sparked outrage. However, not all donors and recipients satisfied Graham’s strict criterion due to a lack of practical screening tools. (Source: DB Pedia)