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Shopping for Dad

November 01, 1987|Katharine Lowry

ALMOST ANY woman who is married, sane, solvent and under 38 can qualify to be a recipient of sperm from the Repository for Germinal Choice. Applicants fill out a questionnaire signed by their doctor explaining why they want a child and detailing their genetic background, including a history of mental and physical health for both husband and wife. The recipients must be intelligent, emotionally stable and able to provide a decent standard of living for the child.

Once accepted, recipient couples go through the catalogue of donors--10 are now available, with IQs from 140 to 190. Each donor, designated by a color, a number or both, is described in almost Proustian detail. Along with an exhaustive medical history, his age, race, religion, national origin, profession, coloring and IQ, if known, are listed, as are appearance, personality and interests.

Dora Vaux, assistant to sperm-bank founder Robert K. Graham, says the cost to recipients is minimal, since Graham pays most of the repository's overhead. There is a $50 application fee and a monthly fee of $25 for the tank of sperm samples and the liquid nitrogen that keeps them frozen. Tests on the donor and his sperm to screen for such diseases as AIDS and hepatitis total $500 to $1,000.

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