Do Sperm Banks ‘Work in Eugenics?’

January 28, 2016: Read article in the Genetic Literacy Project.

Vanessa Smith, a representative of the London Sperm Bank recently gave a press conference following allegations of discrimination. The sperm bank rejected a dyslexic donor, as dyslexia is one of many disqualifying neurological conditions for sperm donations. Speaking on behalf of the company, Smith said, “We are looking for someone who is medically clear of infectious diseases and genetic issues that may possibly be passed on to any resulting child.” She also claimed, “We definitely don’t work in eugenics.” She may mean something like, “In the popular mind, ‘eugenics’ is associated with Nazis, an association we wish to avoid.” But to shape future children, based on a policy that describes human variation as disease, is by definition eugenic.