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'Sperm idol' reality TV show?

26 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 268

An independent television production company, based in the UK, has announced that it is in the process of developing a reality television in which men compete in a 'sperm race' to get a childless woman pregnant. The company - Brighter Pictures - is owned by Endemol, the company that produces Big Brother, and may offer the show to television stations in the UK and US.

In the six episodes of 'Make Me a Mum', a woman will take fertility drugs to increase her egg production and 1000 male volunteers will compete for the privelege of having their sperm used to fertilise her. Two men will get to be finalists - one will be selected by the mother-to-be on the basis of his 'sex-appeal', intelligence, personality, wealth and fitness, and the other will be chosen by experts, based on his genetic compatibility with the woman and the quality of his sperm.

The show plans to film the actual moment of fertilisation using 'new German technology', and feature the moment live on television - when the winner can be announced.

The television company's plan has come under much criticism and has been branded the 'sickest ever reality show'. A spokesman for pro-life group Life said the whole thing sounded 'like prostitution', adding 'if the child learns that he or she was fathered not out of love but for the purposes of a TV programme, that's extremely psychologically damaging'. But Remy Blumenfeld, the creative director of the programme, has defended the idea. 'There's a tremendous amount of science to this show', he said, adding 'It's fascinating - it's much more about the rules of the science than the rules of attraction. It's about what we don't know, what we can't see'. But television watchdog Mediawatch UK condemned the plan as 'absolutely scandalous'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Big Brother company's latest plan: 'sperm race' TV
The Daily Telegraph |  23 July 2004
Could this be television's sickest ever reality show?
The Daily Mail |  23 July 2004
Seed of a TV idea
Sydney Morning Herald |  23 July 2004
Wanted: 1000 volunteers for TV sperm race to make baby
The Evening Standard |  22 July 2004
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