In 1980 rich businessman Robert Graham founded the Repository for Germinal Choice in Escondido, California with the hope that he might help create the next generation of Nobel Prize winners. He promised the seed of such winners to his would-be clients.
One of Graham’s first sperm donors was William Shockley, the Nobel prize winner who created the transistor and, like Graham, was an enthusiastic eugenicist.
Although the sperm bank fell short of Graham’s dream, it did produce 200 children, and offered women something they didn’t have before: a menu of genes to choose from.
Hear a discussion with editor David Plotz about the strange and telling history of the “Nobel Prize sperm bank” and the future of genetically-engineered kids.
David Plotz, deputy editor of the online magazine Slate.
His new book is “The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank.”
Jennifer Waddell, who is seven months pregnant with twins. She received both donor eggs and sperm.