The University That Produces the Most Competitive Sperm

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From What's Your Problem?, my Atlantic advice column:


I am a single woman in my 30s, and I would like to have a baby on my own. I don't want to go to a sperm bank --too anonymous--and I'm lucky because I have four very acceptable guy friends, any of whom I think would be a willing donor if I choose to go that route. I've made lists of their various attributes, and they all basically even out in the end. The only place where they really differ is in their level of academic achievement, specifically where they went to college. Two went to Ivy League schools (Harvard, Columbia), one went to Duke, and one went to a second-tier state school, the University of Kansas. I assume their undergraduate choices had to do with their SAT scores (I don't know how they did on standardized testing, and I think it might be rude to ask), so those choices do seem pertinent. How much should I weigh this in making my decision?

D.S., New York, N.Y.

Dear D.S.,

To avoid making such a difficult decision, I suggest you collect sperm from all four men, combine the donations in a test tube, and inject this potent mixture using the traditional turkey-baster method. Whichever sperm outswims, outfights, or outfoxes the others will fertilize your egg, which is as it should be, because I think the most ruthless and mercenary sperm is axiomatically the best sperm for you. I suspect that the University of Kansas sperm will win this competition. Just look at the school's football program: while not on a par with Auburn or LSU, it could crush Columbia or Harvard. As for Duke, I would guess that the sperm will be too drunk to compete.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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