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
msnbc.com 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 msnbc.com 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 msnbc.com 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
Frederick M. Brown  /  Getty Images
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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  1. Red hot

    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."

    Here she arrives at the 18th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party held at the Pacific Design Center on Mar. 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Beauty slayer

    Actress Alyson Hannigan, of "Buffy the Vampire" fame," got her start in showbiz by appearing in Duncan Hines cookie mix commercials at the age of four. She went on to star in the teen hit movies "American Pie" and "Date Movie," and today she can be seen in the TV show "How I Met Your Mother."

    Here she attends the panel discussion for "How I Met Your Mother" during the CBS 2005 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jul. 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Good import

    Damian Lewis is best known for starring in the popular HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers." The English actor and producer currently stars as a police officer in the NBC drama "Life." (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Ageless beauty

    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."

    Sarandon received five Academy Award nominations for best actress, including for her role in "Thelma & Louise." She has three children and from 1988 to 2009, Sarandon was in a relationship with actor Tim Robbins. (Jason Merritt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Conan the conqueror

    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
  6. Electric red

    Singer and songwirter Tori Amos' resume includes a multitude of critically-acclaimed singles, including "Silent All These Years," "Cornflake Girl" and "Crucify."

    Amos has sold over 12 million albums worldwide and has devoted herself to charity work, most notably, co-founding RAINN (The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) a toll-free help line in the U.S. connecting callers with their local rape crisis center.

    Here she performs during a segment of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" at CBS Television City on Apr. 26, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Smirking Seth

    Actor Seth Green landed his first film gig in the 1984 movie "The Hotel New Hampshire" with Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe." He went on to star in many more flicks, including all three "Austin Powers" movies, "The Italian Job," and "Can't Hardly Wait."

    Green is also well-known for his TV roles, such as playing a werewolf in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and offering the voice of teenager Chris Griffin in animated series "The Family Guy."

    Here he arrives at the Fox Winter 2010 All-Star Party held at Villa Sorisso on Jan. 11, 2010 in Pasadena, California. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. No kidding around

    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.

    Kidman is also well-known for her former high-profile marriage to Tom Cruise as well as her current marriage to singer Keith Urban. She adopted two kids while with Cruise and has a daughter, named Sunday Rose, with Urban. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Goldilocks

    Olympic snowboarder Shaun White became a household name for performing his much-anticipated Double McTwist 1260 trick on a victory run after winning the gold medal in the halfpipe at the Vancouver Games.

    Because of his fiery locks, his nickname was “The Flying Tomato,” but just before the Games he declared that he wanted to be known as “Animal.” (Scott Halleran / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Messing's mane

    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.

    In 2002, she was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" by People magazine. In 2004 she had her first child, Roman, with her actor/screenwriter husband Daniel Zelman. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. 'I Love Lucy'

    One of America's most beloved comediennes, Lucille Ball starred in sitcoms like "I Love Lucy," "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour," "The Lucy Show" and "Here’s Lucy." She won four Emmys and appeared on television for more than 30 years (from the 1930s to the 1970s). She died at 77 when her aorta ruptured after heart surgery. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Mane squeeze

    Golden-Globe nominated actor Eric Stoltz is known for his roles in films like "Mask," "Pulp Fiction," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," and "Some Kind of Wonderful," among others. More recently, he can be seen in the SyFy science fiction drama "Caprica" and he also directed episodes of the 20-something NBC drama "Quarterlife." (John M. Heller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Auburn Ambrose

    Lauren Ambrose is best known for her role as Claire Fisher in the critically-acclaimed HBO drama "Six Feet Under," for which she received two Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
    She recently lent her voice for the voice of monster KW in "Where the Wild Things Are." (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Brat Pack princess

    Best known for her starring roles in the 1980s films "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink," Molly Ringwald specialized in playing the awkward, angsty teen that many fans identified with all too well. She was a member of the Brat Pack, a collection of 1980s teen actors that also included young stars like Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore and Anthony Michael Hall. Ringwald had her first child in 2003 and had twins in 2009 with husband Panio Gianopoulos. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. 'Freckleface Strawberry'

    Actress Julianne Moore has earned four Academy Award nominations and won one Emmy Award for her late-1980s role on daytime soap opera "As the World Turns." She began starring in feature films in the 1990s, appearing in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," and "The Fugitive," and later in films like "Boogie Nights," "The Hours" and "Hannibal." In October 2007, she published "Freckleface Strawberry," a children's picture book about a redheaded young girl learning to love the skin she's in.

    More recently, she appeared in "30 Rock" as Jack Donaghy's love interest. (Sean Gallup / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Locks of love

    Australian actress Isla Fisher's breakout role in the U.S. came with "Wedding Crashers," in which she starred opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. (She got her start acting in Australian soap opera "Home and Away.")

    In October 2007, Fisher gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Olive, with her fiance, English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. She recently starred in the film adaptation of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and the romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe." (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Lord of the Sundance

    Actor/director Robert Redford got his start in television, but really got on the road to stardom after appearing in the 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" alongside Paul Newman.

    His directorial debut came with 1980's "Ordinary People," for which he won an Academy Award. After founding the Sundance Institute in 1981, Redford became very involved with independent film, and still serves as the nonprofit's president. (Stan Honda / AFP-Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Marcia, Marcia

    Actress Marcia Cross is best known for her lead role as Bree Hodge on the TV series "Desperate Housewives." Prior to her "housewife" days, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actress was best known for her role on "Melrose Place." In 2007, at the age of 44, she gave birth to her first children, twin girls, with husband Tom Mahoney, a financial advisor. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Arthouse breakout

    British actress Tilda Swinton, known for both arthouse and mainstream films, won an Oscar in 2008 for her supporting role in "Michael Clayton." Her past films include "The Beach," "Constantine" and "Vanilla Sky." She recently starred in "Burn After Reading" and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

    Born in London, the actress attended boarding school along with Princess Diana. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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