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Robert Klark Graham
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Advocate
    (June 9, 1906-February 13, 1997)
    Born in Harbor Springs, Michigan
    Optician, inventor and eugenicist
    Invented shatter-proof plastic eyeglass lenses
    Wrote 'The Future of Man' (1971)
    Founded the Repository for Germinal Choice, aka 'the Nobel Prize sperm bank' (1980)
    Sperm bank closed two years after his death
    Over 200 children were born via the sperm bank
    He claimed to have gotten three Nobel Prize winners to donate sperm, but only one ever admitted it.
    That one, William Shockley, wasn't exactly a PR coup, thanks to his views on the intellectual inferiority of black people.
    Despite the sperm bank's nickname, he stopped soliciting donations from Nobelists fairly early, partly because the advanced age of most Prize winners made them less than ideal donors.
    None of the babies conceived through the sperm bank had a Nobel Prize winner as the donor.
    Journalist William Poundstone noted about the sperm bank's lowered standards for donors, 'You have to wonder if a future race of financial consultants and grad students would be so different from what we have today.'
    His son Robin said that he was aloof towards his own children and seemed to reserve his affections for the sperm bank kids.
    He operated the Repository for Germinal Choice as a non-profit, subsidizing the costs from the fortune he had made in eyeglasses.
    He revolutionized the sperm bank industry by providing customers a catalogue listing the attributes of the donors and allowing them to choose the donor whose characteristics they preferred.
    He died on a trip to recruit donors at a scientific conference, when he slipped and fell in a hotel bathtub.
    At least a couple of kids conceived through the sperm bank who came forward had genius-level IQs. (Although as one reporter noted, since most of these kids had parents heavily involved in their education, 'It is impossible to determine if their children's talents are the result of nature or nurture, because they are getting double helpings of both.')

Credit: C. Fishel


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