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I Want a Celebrity Sperm Donor!


by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, Oct. 29, 2009

It’s a dark thought, but ever since celebrity traits became sought after traits in the world of plastic surgery, it was only inevitable that the trend would enter the world of sperm donation. Last June, the Los Angeles-based California Cryobank launched its first "Donor Look-A-Likes" program to a media circus.

Imagine a young woman in need of a sperm donor entering a doctor’s office in L.A., and the receptionist behind the desk asking “Are you interested in someone more like Ben Affleck or Paul Walker?”

This was not far from the case when Alice Crisci, a 29-year old, single media consultant and founder of the My Vision Foundation, which helps fund women with cancer to preserve their fertility, got diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. To preserve her fertility, she decided to freeze embryos created with her eggs and donor sperm. But like many sperm bank customers, she faced the challenge of a difficult shopping situation because most donors don’t offer adult photos. Dr. Cappy Rothman, the director of the Cryobank, said the bank’s staff began describing their donors’ looks by comparing them to celebrities.

The bank doesn’t (yet) offer A-listers like Brad Pitt or George Clooney – even though they are the most popularly-requested looks. The more typical case is that a client like Crisco searches the website and the bank describes three celebrities that a particular donor looks like.

Scott Brown, Director of Communications for the California Cryobank, says that more typically, a client will ask for specific types -- like tall, dark and handsome -- and that lead to a Ben Affleck look-a-like. Or for light hair and light eyes -- a Paul Walker-type.

Typically heterosexual infertile couples will try to match the Dad, while lesbian couples want to match the non-birth mother. “Single women are often looking for some ideal mate which is why this program appeals to them,” Brown said.

Right now, the California Cryobank is the only game in town with this kind of program, but given its popularity, chances are copycats are on their way.


Rachel Lehmann-Haupt ( is a journalist and the author of In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood.