The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank

Random House, 2005 - : 262
It was the most radical human-breeding experiment in American history, and no one knew how it turned out. The Repository for Germinal Choicenicknamed the Nobel Prize sperm bankopened to notorious fanfare in 1980, and for two decades, women flocked to it from all over the country to choose a sperm donor from its roster of Nobel-laureate scientists, mathematical prodigies, successful businessmen, and star athletes. But the bank quietly closed its doors in 1999its founder dead, its confidential records sealed, and the fate of its children and donors unknown. In early 2001, award-winning columnist David Plotz set out to solve the mystery of the Nobel Prize sperm bank.

Plotz wrote an article for Slate inviting readers to contact himconfidentiallyif they knew anything about the bank. The next morning, he received an email response, then another, and anothereach person desperate to talk about something they had kept hidden for years. Now, in The Genius Factory, Plotz unfolds the full and astonishing story of the Nobel Prize sperm bank and its founders radical scheme to change our world.

Believing America was facing genetic catastrophe, Robert Graham, an eccentric millionaire, decided he could reverse the decline by artificially inseminating women with the sperm of geniuses. In February 1980, Graham opened the Repository for Germinal Choice and stocked it with the seed of gifted scientists, inventors, and thinkers. Over the next nineteen years, Grahams genius factory produced more than two hundred children.

What happened to them? Were they the brilliant offspring that Graham expected? Did any of the superman fathers care about the unknown sons and daughters who bore their genes? What were the mothers like?

Crisscrossing the country and logging countless hours online, Plotz succeeded in tracking down previously unknown family membersteenage half-brothers who ended up following vastly different paths, mothers who had wondered for years about the identities of the donors they had selected on the basis of code names and brief character profiles, fathers who were proud or ashamed or simply curious about the children who had been created from their sperm samples.

The children of the genius factory are messengers from the futurea future that is bearing down on us fast. What will families be like when parents routinely shop for their kids genes? What will children be like when theyre programmed for greatness? In this stunning, eye-opening book, one of our finest young journalists previews Americas coming age of genetic expectations.


The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank

  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This singular book examines the story behind the Repository for Germinal Choice-a sperm bank using only donations from Nobel Prize winners and others of high intellect. The bank, which closed in 1999 ...

Review: The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank

  - Rachel - Goodreads

Fascinating book. This scary experiment set the standard for modern sperm banks. Great read. Highly recommend.


: 5



David Plotz is deputy editor of the online magazine Slate. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.