The Top 2 Traits All Women Want In Their Sperm Donor, Says Study

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pregnant woman

Tall, dark, and handsome used to be what women were typically looking for in a mate.

They dreamed of a dark-haired prince to capture their heart when they were little girls and grew up to have those qualities on their list of what they wanted in a husband.

Tall men were known to have won the genetic jackpot as studies have shown that they earn more money, are happier, healthier, and have a greater chance at keeping their cognitive abilities sharper as they age, especially when compared to shorter men. 

But the tall, dark, handsome preference isn't the case when it comes to a sperm donor, a study revealed.

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The top two traits women want in their sperm donors are age and someone educated.

The study, "What Women Want in Their Sperm Donor," published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, found that when choosing a sperm donor, clients were more interested in educated, young donors.

The researchers wrote, "We find that younger donors and those who hold a higher formal education, compared to those with no academic qualifications, are more quickly selected for reservation by women."

Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia analyzed how 1,546 women made decisions regarding the choice of sperm donors during the time period of 2006 to 2015 at a private Australian assisted reproductive health facility.

They found that the most important factors in the women's sperm selection were age and the education level of the donor. 

"Many women have more freedom than ever before when it comes to choosing who fathers their offspring, and what we found is that younger and more highly-educated sperm donors are snapped up much faster," said study co-author, Stephen Whyte.

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"In most developed countries, women (and men) with fertility problems, single women, and lesbians are all now able to freely access sperm from sperm banks and reproductive health facilities for insemination.

Women are theoretically no longer bound by the constraints of proximity, social class, culture, or race when choosing a male to mate with," Whyte said.

With so much choice available to sperm bank clients, it's interesting that they're choosing age and education over good looks.

The study brings up the fact that, traditionally, women are attracted to older males, not younger ones, and the study proposes that the modern woman's preference for their sperm donors to be young may be a reflection of their evolutionary preference for mating with men who have the ability and willingness to provide resources.

"Women have always born a heavier burden in reproduction than men and because of this they have evolved preferences for males with the ability and willingness to provide resources," said Whyte. "Higher education levels in males may be seen by women as a proxy for resources."

This is good news for all those college dudes wanting to make a little extra money by being sperm donors.


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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.