Leah Lucci's Reviews > The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank

The Genius Factory by David Plotz
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's review
Jul 29, 12

Read in July, 2012

Spoiler alert: not a single baby was born from a Nobel Prize winner thanks to this bank.

The bank, which started as a very thinly-veiled eugenics project, only used white sperm to inseminate heterosexual, married white women. The book goes into the history of eugenics, the weird people who made the bank a reality, and the stark contrast between the initial plans and the disappointing reality.

The author met a lot of the donors as well as the "genius babies," their mothers, and their families. In some cases, he helped reunite the donors and their offspring, in a mix of charming and anticlimactic results.

This sperm bank, though an innovator in its time, was a total Icarus project. This was a really interesting book about a little B-side of history. It's a good read with the inevitable "it's not about your genes, but the choices you make" message.

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