Want your offspring to be a superstar?

Posted by Ed 4 yrs ago
It's doubtful Michael Phelps will need the money, but if his swimming endorsements ever dry up there may be a way to make ends meet.
He can produce a bunch of little Michael Phelpses.
Not the old-fashioned way with a wife and some romance. Phelps could sell his sperm to couples bent on producing a master athlete.
We're not there yet, thank goodness. Though you have to wonder how long it will be before somebody opens a Superstar Sperm Bank.
Customers would expect more than a free toaster for opening an account. But what better way to capitalize on America's growing fixation with youth sports?
Something is off track when parents are spending $50,000 a year on travel, training, equipment and sports psychologists for Little Jane or Johnny.
And I do mean little, or did your forget to sign up your child for the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships? There's a 6-and-under division, you know.
Call me old-fashioned, but is a 5-year-old ready to compete for a world championship in anything except throwing food?
"It's an arms race," Tom Farrey said.
He's the author of Game On, which examines youth sports in our culture. Farrey is also a contributor for ESPN's E:60, which tonight looks at how sports is affecting the biggest decision parents will ever make.
"Let's see, do I want a Tiger Woods or a LeBron James?"
People are going to sperm banks looking for the most athletic seed available, and who can really blame them? Wouldn't you want your child to be big and strong? "I'd say somewhere between 40 percent and two-thirds of infertile couples look to prioritize athletic traits," Gary Weinhouse said in Game On.
He's the CEO of California Cryobank, the nation's largest sperm bank. When the company Web site featured athletes on its Donor of the Month, interest in those donors jumped 140 percent.
Cryobank advertises for donors in college newspapers. It doesn't specifically ask for athletes, but it loves it when one walks through the door.
Fewer than 1 percent of applicants make the final cut. They donate up to three times a week and are paid $75 a session.
And to think I almost had to sell plasma for $15 a pop to get through college. It pays to be a jock, and Farrey found one ex-college tight end whose sperm sold out. He now has 16 offspring spread across America.
(This being a serious topic, I will not make the requisite Shawn Kemp joke about athletes freely providing their breeding services.)
The whole thing has a queasy feel. It's one thing for Secretariat to be matched and mated, but only wackos like Hitler were into selective breeding of humans. Cryobank stresses that most prospective parents don't come in shopping for the next great Olympian.
"I don't think the process our clients go through is any different than what women go through when looking for a mate," said Scott Brown, Cryobank's communications director.

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