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Monday, January 16, 2012

Made to order baby????


Recently a Chennai couple looking to start their family has placed an online advertisement looking for sperm donors for artificial insemination but with specific conditions. Before I go into the advertisement placed by them I would like to touch upon a little background on the artificial insemination process. Every parent would aspire that their child should be intelligent and good looking but then nature and genetics take precedence in this process. If a couple is not able to conceive naturally for any reason then artificial insemination is the process is undertaken if the couple wishes to have a child. Mankind has been fascinated by the process of pregnancy and has experimented extensively to perfect the insemination process so as to bring a bundle of joy to the childless couples.

But then there have been experiments by few doctors in this field to conceive a super human being by using sperms or eggs of the intelligent, brave, handsome and beautiful people living during those eras. It is well documented that Dr Karl Clauberg and his assistant Johannas Golbel of Germany, during the Second World War were conducting many experiments of artificial insemination on the imprisoned Jewish woman so as to perfect the process so that a untainted Aryan race could be born. This reminds me of the old joke involving the chat between George Bernard Shaw and Marilyn Monroe, wherein Marilyn tells that a child between two of them would have her beauty and GBS’s brains and his response was “what if the child has my beauty and your brains”. There is no recorded evidence of the child being born by artificial insemination being progeny even though the donor had been endowed with very high IQ. It clearly proves that even if you tweak the process, the nature and genetics would take its course and decide the final characteristic of the child that is born.

Coming back to the recent online advert, the conditions imposed by the couple were that “the donor should be an IIT student, healthy, no bad habits, tall and fair if possible” and the compensation offered is Rs 20,000.00 which is a lively sum for students in college. This advertisement has given rise to lots of resentment among the students of IIT Chennai and also the general public who has come across this bit of news because of the conditions imposed.  Some of the comments were “This is insane. How can sperm from an IITian make any difference? Intelligence cannot be measured. You can only identify intelligence in a person, but one cannot measure intelligence by the institution he comes from,” said a second year student” & “This advertisement is ridiculous. I think IIT brand name is taken out of context here. May be genetics do play some role, but hard work makes a man intelligent. If they were right, Albert Einstein’s relatives should be the brightest of all in the world. Excellence is mostly hard work,” another student said.

It is quite surprising that an educated couple is bench marking only students in IIT to be intelligent, tall, and fair, for I personally know few IITians who have struggled to complete the course even though they fared well in the entrance exams. Few Childless couples wanting to have babies through artificial insemination think that they can determine the characteristics of their baby by deciding the donor….similar to ordering the toppings while order the pizza from Pizza hut or Dominos, but then they have to understand that nature and genetics has a major role in this matter otherwise I am sure each child in the society may have been a Newton, Einstein, John McEnroe or a Mohammad Ali

Your take on this bit of news please!!!!