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.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to