Why Would-Be Moms Are Liking Vikings

ByABC News via logo
December 16, 2004, 2:31 PM

Dec. 17, 2004 — -- It was just a few months after Alexandra's 39th birthday when she realized that she had everything she had ever wanted, except for one thing that might not wait much longer.

"I didn't know how hard or easy it would be to have a baby and I thought if I didn't try soon, you know, it may be too late. I also know I have the rest of my life to find a partner but I don't have the rest of my life to have a kid," said Alexandra, who did not want her last name used in this story.

Alexandra decided it was time to take action. After some research, she found an anonymous sperm donor 4,000 miles away from her home in New York City.

Her donor came from Denmark, home of the world's largest sperm bank, Cryos International. The clinic has been exporting blond-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian genes to more than 40 countries since 1990. Cryos International claims it's achieved more than 7,000 pregnancies and the clinic's founder says he takes his work very seriously.

"If there's some donors who we would not accept for our own wife or daughter, he should be dismissed," said Ole Schou, who started the company in the city of Århus, home to the University of Århus, the Engineering College of Århus and Århus Business School.

Schou, whose company opened an office in New York last year, says Cryos is very selective. He says all prospective donors are screened for diseases and some genetic conditions. Nine out of 10 volunteers, who are almost entirely college students, are rejected, according to Schou.

Those who are chosen say the process works because it's confidential. Danish law guarantees the donors will remain anonymous. And, in the end, it's easy money for students, who get paid $40 or more for each donation.

One donor who wished to remain anonymous says he's not sure why so many would-be parents from overseas want Danish genes, but he suspects it has something to do with his countrymen's reputation for good looks.

"Tall, well-built, blue-eyed, the whole package deal. I don't know whether that has to do with us being considered ancient warriors or [descendants] of Vikings," he said.

Alexandra says she preferred a Scandinavian connection because her mother is Danish. She says she plans to tell her daughter how she came to be once the girl is old enough to understand.

"I'll tell her the story of the girl who really, really wanted a baby and when she became a woman, she decided to have one on her own," Alexandra said. "So it was out of a love for her."

ABC News' Jim Sciutto produced this story for "Good Morning America."