JENALEE RYAN has just opened the Abraham Center of Life in San Antonio, Texas, billing it as "the world's first human embryo bank ." Put bluntly, Ryan sells infertile couples their choice of designer embryos that, after being brought to term, become designer babies. Matching what Ryan considers "attractive and intelligent" sperm and egg donors, she designs and brokers embryos for people looking to have the perfect child
Ryan, in many ways, has Wal-Martized human reproduction: by buying preferred eggs and sperm wholesale, centralizing embryo production, and creating a business model that curbs inefficiencies in the assisted reproduction market, she hopes to undercut expensive fertility costs that many people can't afford and most insurance companies won't cover. Assisted reproduction costs can run up to $45,000 to produce a child; Ryan estimates that her clients can become pregnant for about ten grand.
And with this smiley-face price rollback comes the instant rebate of being able to choose what your child looks like. Ryan markets her embryos as coming from men with Ivy League sperm and women with Fabergé quality eggs, stacking...