Ginger and redhead lovers, rejoice! A sperm bank is calling for more redhead donors after observing a surge in demand from women wishing to raise babies with "ginger" genes.
International sperm donors network, Co-ParentMatch, made the announcement on Twitter with the hashtag #savegingers.
Only 2% of their donors are gingers, and they want more. The first reason seems to be an increased demand from women for their babies to be born with red hair. Co-ParentMatch also wishes to save gingers from extinction, as red hair is becoming a rarity in the gene pool.
Until now, demand for redhead sperm samples was scarce. In 2011, the world's largest sperm bank Cryos International, based in Denmark, stirred up a controversy by refusing donations from gingers because they had more donors than needed.
Its founder and CEO, Ole Schou, had then said: "I do not think you choose a redhead, unless the partner, for example the sterile male, has red hair; or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that's perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case."
However, Schou claimed Cryos had 600 donors carrying the gene on a waiting list, for when redheads would be more "fashionable". It now seems this list could be put to good use.
According to the BBC, between 1% and 2%, or 70 to 140 million people around the world, have red hair. It is thought that Northern Europe has the biggest concentration of gingers in the world, although more data still needs to be produced to prove this claim.
In 2014, DNA experts claimed that global warming would be the death of ginger genes in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Dr Alistair Moffat had then told the Daily Record that light skin, red hair and blue eyes were the results of year of adaption to the environment.
Climate change, bringing warmer temperatures and more sun, would mean more vitamin D, which would make the gene rarer. "If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, then yes, there would be fewer people carrying the gene," Dr Moffat said.
But even if sperm banks meet the demands for gingers, it does not necessarily mean that the overall population of redheads will grow exponentially.
As Brisbane IVF fertility doctor David Molloy told The Courier Mail, "it is a genetic tumble drier." Sperm containing redhead genes does not equal redhead babies.
However, the more redheads there are, the more likely the gene will be to survive. Therefore, Co-ParentMatch's initiative can only help the fight to save gingers from disappearing completely from the face of the Earth. All the more reason to keep up the good work.