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Dr Manny's Notes

Defending the Redhead Gene

Australian actress Nicole Kidman poses during a promotional event for a watch brand in Hong Kong Thursday, May 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

As somebody who is married to a redhead, I can tell you that redheads are wonderful people – and beautiful too. Just consider actresses like Nicole Kidman or Amy Adams.

There have also been many other famous, influential redheads throughout history, such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus and Queen Elizabeth I.

Slideshow: Click here for more famous redheads.

So as you can imagine, I’m quite dismayed by the fact that the largest sperm bank in the world is turning away redheaded donors because folks don’t want children with red hair.

The sperm bank in question, Cryos International, said in a statement that there have been so many donations made in the last few years that the facility can now afford to be picky.

The statement went on to add that, essentially, the supply of sperm from redheaded donors has outpaced the demand.

This made me recall an article I once read, published in the magazine National Geographic, that by the year 2060 some genetic experts are predicting that there will not be any redheads left on the planet. I hope that’s not true.

But if it is, I think it may be a striking example of the potential dangers associated with gene manipulation and the future of the human race.

It is true that the gene for red hair is recessive -- and that there is only a small percentage of people who have red hair to begin with. These are likely reasons why the redheaded population is dwindling.

However, I can’t help but wonder if purposeful genetic manipulation isn’t contributing to, or even speeding this process along.

People need to understand that the whole purpose of having sperm or egg donors is to facilitate a couple’s desire to have a baby when it cannot occur naturally.

But shopping around for perfect hair color, specific eyes, tone of skin or height – creating “designer babies” -- is just wrong. There’s no place for discrimination based on appearance in reproductive technology.

If we keep up with this nonsense, something in our evolutionary chain is going to snap and newer problems are going to develop that we will have ourselves to thank for.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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