Sperm Race TV

Reality TV shows just keep getting weirder and weirder. The latest one being developed in Britain (unless it's all a hoax, like Lapdance Island or Quarantine) is Sperm Race TV, in which a group of guys get to compete for the prize of fathering a child. Two finalists are chosen, one chosen by the mother on the basis of romantic attraction, the other chosen by the show's producers on the basis of 'genetic compatibility' with the mother. The two guys will then compete in a sperm race, filmed with special fiber-optic cameras, to see whose sperm can inseminate the mother's egg first. To me this sounds hoaxy on a number of different levels. First of all, what do they mean by 'genetic compatibility'? I can understand you might want to screen to make sure two partners aren't harboring deadly recessive genes, but beyond that what exactly makes two people genetically compatible? Second, how exactly will they stage this 'sperm race'? I assume they'd have to introduce the two sperm samples at the exact same time into the woman to make it a fair race, but then how will they know which sperm belongs to which father? And finally, are they seriously contemplating getting the woman pregnant? Or will they abort the child? Either way, they're going to outrage a lot of people.

Birth/Babies Entertainment Sex/Romance

Posted on Sat Jul 24, 2004


Well, they can do it outside the woman and they can actually colour the sperm ofcourse, to see if blue or red wins, I suppose.
And people are nutty enough to do this sort of things.
Posted by chipo  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  01:57 PM
[sarcasm]Yes, individual sperm are, of course, *easy* to tell apart.[/sarcasm]
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  06:50 PM
How bizarre if true.
Posted by The Mexx  on  Sun Jul 25, 2004  at  12:56 AM
I had some of the same thoughts as chipo: it could be an in vitro thing, where the egg is fertilized outside the body. That way, the mother can decide whether she wants it or not without it being technically abortion (but still something that would make a lot of people angry). I also assume the mother wants a child when she volunteers for this, although why she would gamble with it being a stranger or someone she wants to possibly father her child is beyond me.

I have this stupid vision of this little tiny divided race track with a petri dish with an egg at the end of it now.
Posted by Goo  on  Sun Jul 25, 2004  at  10:40 AM
Would it make sense to have the race outside the woman? If you're just dropping sperm on top of an egg in a testtube, then where are the sperm racing to? I thought the whole point of the race was that the sperm were going to do the classic journey up into the uterus/fallopian tubes. If they're not going to test the sperm in their natural environment, then it doesn't seem like a real race. Of course, the whole thing seems pretty bizarre anyway. But if they're going to do it, they should do it right.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sun Jul 25, 2004  at  12:33 PM
This is partially true. It's not a sperm race and there is no prize. It is actually a scientific study where the sperm are filmed to see how they behave after the man has performed certain lifestyle choice behaviors (drinking, excercising, smoking, etc).
Posted by Fluff  on  Sun Jul 25, 2004  at  07:22 PM
If this were to work it would have to be done in vitro. You wouldn't just be dropping sperm onto an egg in a test tube (the term 'test tube baby' is a bit of a misnomer) - small dishes are used. Theoretically I suppose you could stick the egg in the middle of a dish, dump a sperm sample on either side and then see which sperm reaches the egg first.

On the question of genetic compatibility - you can screen for deadly mutations and such, but other things that affect 'compatibility' (or shall we say the survival fitness of the offspring) are things like immune system genes. The idea is that two parents with very different immune system genetics will produce a child with a stronger immune system resistant to a higher variety of threats. If they had the same genetics the child's immune system would likely be no better than the parents'.
Posted by Nefertari  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  11:06 PM
Article below from dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf"(roughly) says the Dutch Christian Democrates opose fiercly against plans by Endemol to produce a "sperm race" called "Make me a mum". They want to stop it on account that eggs and sperm can not be traded commercially by dutch law (embryo law). Maybe european law even.The show might air in Germany and talks continue in the UK and the USA. Endemol replies by saying: "It's just an idea. Where not sure it will air. All our programs are within the law and within the norms of decency, of course." In 2001, when Endemol was still called Joop van de Ende TV producties, they came up with the show "I want to have your baby". That never aired because of the commotion it caused. "That was just an idea too" says Endemol.
CDA fel tegen komst 'spermashows'
DEN HAAG - Het CDA is fel tegen de plannen van Endemol International om twee televisieprogramma's in het buitenland te maken met sperma in de hoofdrol. In 'Sperm Race' wordt gezocht naar de man met de beste kwaliteit sperma en in 'Make me a mum' is de hoofdprijs het zwanger maken van een vrouw.

De CDA-Tweede-Kamerleden Atsma en Ormel zien er helemaal niets in. Ze vragen zich bovendien af of dergelijke programma's, mochten ze in Nederland op de buis komen, strijdig zijn met de Embryowet, waarin het commercieel gebruik van sperma en eicellen wordt verboden. Het CDA riep dinsdag dan ook het kabinet op te bekijken hoe Endemol tegengehouden kan worden, eventueel in Europees verband.

Het programma Sperm Race komt waarschijnlijk in Duitsland op tv. Over het uitzenden van Make me a mum onderhandelt Endemol met diverse zenders in de Verenigde Staten en Engeland.

"Het gaat om programma-idee
Posted by Paul  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  04:14 PM
Ha, silly me. It's two different programs! How could I get THAT wrong. In "Sperm Race", for german tv, you can win a sportscar (!?) if you have the best sperm. In "Make me a mum", for british and american, tv you can win the chance to impregnate a woman with your sperm in a six part show....they call it a battle between fysical attraction and science....(
Posted by Paul  on  Wed Jul 28, 2004  at  02:02 AM
I've already seen on the tv news imagens of a sperm race, can't remember in which country had it happened. It was that, plain and simple, a sperm race. cant' remember anyother details though... I think this storu is an hoax based on that same sperm race that actually happened
Posted by sakeb  on  Wed Jul 28, 2004  at  05:07 AM
i am the result of a sperm race
Posted by john  on  Wed Aug 18, 2004  at  01:49 PM
Where do I sign up? I have hundreds of children already.
Posted by The Most Fertile Man on Earth  on  Fri Oct 29, 2004  at  05:18 PM
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