"The Entrepreneur" Speaks
A donor tells why he gave the Repository for Germinal Choice his Grade A sperm.
Why did he want you as a donor?
Bob liked me because I was a lot similar to him. I was always starting companies and doing things. He liked that I was a hardscrabble entrepreneur.
He was fixated on people who were athletic and smart. He wanted both. That's what the mothers were into. I tested pretty high IQ wise—149—but I was not a genius. But he liked the drive part of it. By then he wanted to get out of the mode of the little bald professor, the Nobel Prize winner. "Those Nobel laureates are not going to win a basketball game anywhere," he said.
He also wanted musical ability. He kept badgering me if I had musical ability. Mothers really liked that. I told him that I played a mean stereo.
How did he finally persuade you?
It was flattering. He was so interested. He was so devoted to it. And my girlfriend was working it really, really hard. She wanted to get married and have kids, and she was trying to steer me into the mode of having kids.
I just felt if it was so important to him and not important to me, I could give it a trial for a little while. I knew it was not going to turn the world around, but if you make a couple of mothers happy, what's wrong with that? A little flattery, a little guilt, a little girlfriend pushing on it. Even though I knew it was not going to make much of a difference, I was happy that Graham was happy.
And did you believe in Graham's general principle, that your good genes could help create better children?
Yes. I absolutely believe that genes matter a great deal. You start out and you stay the same. You can modify maybe 7 percent to 9 percent.
Once you agreed to donate to the repository, how long did it take till you gave?
There were a lot of hoops to jump. I had to go through background and IQ tests. He interviewed my parents and their parents.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.