Society used to get married, have kids, and then, happy or not, stay married their entire lives rather than suffer the stigma of divorce. Then society gradually began getting divorced without the fear of stigma, which was liberating. But despite this liberalization, kids born out-of-wedlock continued to be stigmatized. Being born out-of-wedlock was still pretty much frowned upon. In fact, we called these offspring "bastards."
But, thankfully, all that has changed. Today there are not only no stigmas or labels or penalties or bastards, there is a growing number of women who've made the decision to become mothers but who don't want to get married, and don't want, as it were, to take a pig in a poke when it comes to their child. And in this technological age, who can blame them?
These discerning women are simply no longer willing to take a chance on the unreliable eggs of either a husband or lover. What they're interested in is a "sure thing." Accordingly, egg-wise, what they seek is the sperm of (1) a gifted artist (musician, painter or writer), or (2) a superior athlete, or (3) a certified genius (a man with an I.Q. of 140 or higher).
This is where professional sperm donors come in. The case can be made that an ambitious man who vaguely conforms to any one of these three categories could store his sperm in a hermetically-sealed mayonnaise jar and make a decent living parceling it out on eBay. And we're not talking about a few bucks here. We're talking about several thousand dollars per dose.
There's a growing number of women out there who are looking for accomplished men to father their children. This is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. After all, which would you rather be the mother of -- a certified genius or gifted athlete, or a fry cook? And if these women aren't fortunate enough to marry or shack up with an accomplished man, the next best thing is to be fertilized by one.
Consider the athlete: As for being genetically superior, the donor wouldn't have to be a world-class specimen -- a Magic Johnson or Larry Bird -- in order to peddle his sperm. He could be a former Division I college star who, due to bad luck or injury, failed to make it in the pro ranks. All he would have to do to establish his athletic creds is exhibit his newspaper clippings and ESPN videos.
The same with genius. This man doesn't have to be Noam Chomsky or Stephen Hawking. Indeed, he could be a brilliant under-achiever, an eccentric iconoclast who dropped out of MIT to start a tattoo parlor, but who has the certifiable (and biologically transferable) brain chemistry of the top one-percentile. All this fellow needs to do is show evidence of a genius-level I.Q., and eBay will do the rest.
When one considers the number of really smart people out there who, for whatever reason, are locked into unworthy or dead-end jobs -- or the over-abundance of Ph.D. holders who can't find a decent job in today's stunted economy -- the virtues of this sperm donor racket should be immediately obvious.
Moreover, this enterprise could apply to gifted retirees as well. Donating eggs would be a wonderful, low-maintenance means of augmenting one's pension. Old sperm may not be quite as desirable as young sperm, but clearly, as Clint Eastwood has proven, it can still get the job done.
As for the artist's genes, there was a news story a while back announcing that a celebrity singer had decided to impregnate herself with the sperm of a rock star. Even with his long history of drug addiction, this union would be like Picasso mating with Georgia O'Keefe. Just imagine how creative their offspring will be! Ah, romance.
David Macaray, an LA playwright and author ("It's Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor"), was a former union rep.