Some ginger kid. Photo by Eddie Van 3000
I really don't get the whole ginger prejudice thing. Gingers have done great things for humanity. Barbarossa. Jefferson. Van Gogh. Joyce. Even Jesus Christ was kind of strawberry blonde, although that might just have been his halo making him look more ginger than he really was. But still: ginger Christ. So why are there so many people who seem to want redheads to die in a house fire?
A few days ago, a ginger friend of mine told me that the world’s largest sperm bank, Cryos International, didn’t want his spunk donation. He could go along to their donation clinic and he'd be turned away at the door. Wanking into a cup for money, the last recourse every man imagines himself being able to turn to if he finds himself penniless, was suddenly off the menu. Society didn't want his sperm in its gene pool.
I caught up with Ole Schou, the Managing Director of Cryos, who caused an outcry back in 2011 when he first gave this information to the press. He explained (sort of).
VICE: Hi Ole. Why has Cryos International been turning away the semen of redheads?
Ole Schou: We have too much semen from redheads in relation to the demand. The problem is that we only harvest in Denmark but we cover the demand worldwide. We have nothing against redheads – it’s just a question of supply. About 90 percent of our donated semen gets rejected, often because the quality of the semen is not sufficiently high but also because of other reasons, such as production standards. If the donor does not pass the medical examination, or if they have exchanged sex for money or drugs, we will reject their semen.
Well how about that. So who don't you reject?
For now, we’re looking for non-anonymous donors, where the child can access their donor’s identity when they reach 18 years of age. We’re also seeking donations from other ethnic origins other than Danish – so donors of southern European, African, Indian or Asian origin. We are no longer taking Scandinavian donors for the time being unless they have brown eyes – whether their hair is ginger, blonde or brown. We have nothing against redheads and I’m very sorry for all the troubles this case has caused.
So do you just throw all of the new ginger sperm in the bin?
If it's late in the process, we inform the donor that they are rejected and throw the semen away. If they are rejected for medical reasons then we refer them to medical help in the ordinary health system.
Why do you think the demand for the semen of a redhead is low?
The demand is not low in general but as we harvest in Denmark where many people are redheaded, we do not fit the demand for the rest of the world that we supply to. It is not just redheads but all types of Scandinavian phenotypes. We have too much of some ethnicities and are in need of others. The demand is the same as before really, but the demand for redheads is more dominant in Ireland and Denmark than it is in the rest of the UK because less people in the other parts of the UK have red hair. I do not think you choose a redhead unless the sterile male has red hair or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.
If you're right and women don't tend to go for redheads, do you think it's possible that gingers could die out?
It could be true long-term, as could blonde hair, as these are recessive in comparison to darker coloured hair. But I don’t think it will happen in 100 years – more like 10,000 years. Cryos’ aim is to supply what is in demand. If everybody wanted red hair donors we would try to supply this. If no one does, it will not be feasible to have redheaded donors in stock.
Gotcha, thanks Ole!
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