Video: Redhead? Sperm bank doesn't want you

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    >>> to a decision by the world's largest sperm bank to turn away potential donors. there is a report that red heads are no longer welcome. nbc's stephanie gosk is in copenhagen with the details on this. good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, matt. the poor red heads . they're always getting picked on. most of the time unfairly. we went to check out this report. we went to this largest sperm bank in the world. red heads are getting turned away but actually all scandinavians are being turned away because for the first time this sperm bank has a supply glut. a thousand years ago maurading hordes of vikings from scandinavia conquered europe spreading their legacy and their genes. today they are back at it now less violently with the help of the denmark based cryos, the largest sperm bank in the world.

    >> we started in a small place.

    >> business has boomed.

    >> yes. it became bigger and bigger.

    >> reporter: 30 years ago he says he had a dream, a strange one, about this -- frozen sperm. they now have 500 sperm donors, ship to 65 countries, and are responsible for nearly 20,000 pregnancies. efficiency and quality control are key. this biotechnician is counting by hand what she calls the super athletic sperm.

    >> super athletic is basically just another way of saying a really good swimmer.

    >> it's a very, very good swimmer.

    >> reporter: the business grew fast but it has also changed fast leading to a surprising development for cryos. they have too much supply. scandinavian donors like this student are no longer needed especially one particular group.

    >> we shouldn't have too many red head donors in the stock and we can't take any more for the time being .

    >> sorry, prince harry . you need not apply. part of the problem is new legislation on sperm imports around the world, including the u.s., which bans sperm imports from europe because of mad cow disease . but women also have new demands that often go well beyond just height, eyes, and hair.

    >> at some point there's going to be the question of, like, how did you choose? and you want to be able to say, i chose the nicest person i could find.

    >> reporter: sperm banks like cryos now provide detailed profiles of their donors including voice recordings.

    >> i hope my donation can help anyone.

    >> reporter: cryos is expanding, hoping to become a network of sperm banks around the world and mix up the donor supply. viking sperm just isn't enough. for this healthy, bouncing, baby business it's time to diversify. the director of cryos says he is always doing what he can to stay ahead of the competition. he says that they are developing right now what he calls the virtual date, dinner and possibly a dance with the sperm donor . sadly, that wasn't available for us to see though we did ask.

    >> so many lines, stephanie. thank you very much. appreciate it.

By contributor
updated 9/22/2011 9:31:40 AM ET 2011-09-22T13:31:40

If you’ve got red hair, don't bother donating sperm at Cryos International, one of the world’s largest sperm banks.

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"We have nothing against red-haired donors," Cryos agency director Ole Schou told Monday. "Our stock is about to explode. We have just too many on stock in relation to the demand for the time being."

Demand for redheads is still high in Ireland, according the clinic, but apparently it’s not enough to persuade officials at Cryos sperm bank to continue accepting them. It has 140,000 doses of sperm from red heads, and that’s enough.

Speaking from his office in Denmark, Schou explains the agency also won’t take any Scandinavian donors for the time being — unless they have brown eyes.

Story: 1 sperm donor, 150 brothers and sisters

"What we need is brown-eyed Scandinavians/Caucasians and Mediterranean donors and other ethnicities and races," he says. "The problem is that we are located in Scandinavia and 'harvest' donors here but we supply to more than 65 countries all over the whole world. They don’t always want Scandinavian donors out there."

Schou later clarified to that the clinic is not shutting its doors to all red-headed sperm donors -- the specimen cups are still available for those with brown eyes. The issue for Cryos, Schou explains, is too many Scandinavian donors have blond, middle blond, dark blond and red hair, a legacy of their Viking ancestors who also heavily multiplied in Scotland and Ireland.

2009 Winter TCA Tour - Day 9
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A top sperm-donation clinic has stopped taking deposits from redheads, reporting there's a glut in the market. But since there remains a big demand for tall guys, we bet they'd made an exception for famous carrot top Conan O'Brien.

The sperm bank is also looking for more Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mediterranean and mixed-race donors, Schou says.

"Our function in society is to have all races and all ethnicities. Our problem is that we have too many Scandinavians only," he says.

Who is your favorite redhead? Share on Facebook!

If you're a blue-eyed redhead looking to donate sperm, you're still welcome at other sperm clinics, although you may be in higher demand if you’re really smart, tall, athletic or musical.

Maryann Brown, chief executive officer of International Cryogenics in Birmingham, Mich., one of the first sperm banks in the U.S., hasn't experienced an anti-red bias. The clinic has "a good call for redheads."

Prospective parents often do have very specific requests when it comes to sperm donors, Brown says.

TODAY Moms Happy Hour: Redheads rule!

When parents are seeking sperm, she says, they often prefer donors who are athletically or musically inclined, and they prefer donors who are educated. Sometimes they even want a specific blood type.

"Some people are very interested in their looks and even the shape of their face, and how tall the family members are," she says. "They want all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and eye color including green, hazel, brown and blue."

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Photos: Famous redheads

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    Christina Hendricks, who plays office bombshell Joan Holloway on the hit AMC show "Mad Men," is known for her seductive curves and stunning red locks. Before captivating the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, the actress had a recurring role in "ER" and guest-starred in episodes of "Without a Trace."

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    Actress Susan Sarandon first won moviegoers' hearts when she appeared in the cult favorite musical "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." She's since appeared in countless films, including "Bull Durham," "Dead Man Walking," and "The Client."

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    Conan O'Brien got his comedy start by writing sketches for "Saturday Night Live." He then went on to write and produce for "The Simpsons" before ultimately landing a late-night gig. He hosted "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" from 1993-2009 before moving on to "The Tonight Show," which was cancelled in January 2010. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman proved her skills as an actress with 1989's "Dead Calm”"and 1995's "To Die For," while later films like "Moulin Rouge!" and "The Hours" also earned her critical acclaim. Most recently, she showed off her music and dancing skills in the musical "Nine," alongside Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz.

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    Redhead Debra Messing is best known for playing Grace Adler in the TV series "Will & Grace," a role that scored her an Emmy Award in 2003. She also starred in the TV series "The Starter Wife," in which she played a divorced Hollywood wife looking to start over.

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