William Shockley, a Nobel Prizewinner for his invention of the transistor, recently announced he has donated his seed to a high I.Q. sperm bank in Escondido, Calif. Dr. Shockley is less well known for his inventions than for his opinion that blacks do not have the mental horses that white people do.
What would Dr. Shockley say if he were to learn that his sperm, so graciously donated for the improvement of the breed, had been artificially inseminated into a lady of color?
Only women of high I.Q. are eligible for the carefully frozen seed stored in this bank, into which its proprietor says, three other Nobel Laureates also have ladled out small portions of their genetic patrimony. Which brings up the possibility of an equal-opportunity sperm bank. Don't us dummies have a constitutional right to a smart kid? Bright people already make a lotta money. They don't need someone to take care of them in their old age.
Unfortunately, the opportunity for fraud is rife in the sperm-bank business.
There is poor Ms. Judy reading her Cosmopolitan when she happens on a small squib of an ad in the back pages: "Just discovered in an old fridge, carefully packed and forgotten, a limited supply of Albert Einstein sperm, vintage 1937 (his best year), send $25, plus a duly notorized certificate attesting to the fact that you are not a moron, to Brains, P.T. Box 1000, La Jolla Calif., and we will rush by return mail enough of the rare Einstein to produce three normal babies or one brilliant one."
Ten years later, behold the same Ms. Judy with an unprepossessing lad demanding to see the head of the Federal Trade Commission's consumer fraud section. "Does that look like Albert Einstein's kid?" she asks, dropping onto a hard wooden chair as she searches her purse for a Kleenex with which to wipe her disappointed mother's eyes. "He can't even count. For what you see there I don't have to send away to La Jolla, Calif."
It's not gong to get the FTC off the hook by replying: "Ms. Judy, Einstein hardly made it through junior high school. Some vintages are slow coming into their own. Let's see what the kid looks like in 20 years. If he still can't count, you've got a legitimate beef, and I might come out of retirement to help you with it."
The pioneers in the sperm business like Robert Graham, the gentleman who is making Dr. Schockley's seed available to high I.Q. ladies, must rely on Nobel Prize bulls until there is broad market acceptance and women start telling their husbands, "Have your kid, dummy? Not when I can have Isaac Newton's." But once this thing catches on, there won't be enough top quality seed to go around.
For those of us in the lower vertebrate orders, when the desire to give of ourselves arises, there is always the Red Cross Bloodmobile.