DNA testing has given sperm banks an interesting challenge. The concept of an “anonymous donor” has gone out the window. Now a simple, affordable DNA test can verify parentage. Perhaps of more concern is that as more people contribute DNA to public databases, it’s becoming easier to identify previously unknown siblings, which leaves just a short step to the father.

With genetic manipulation becoming such an easy thing to do, how long will it be before sperm banks start offering “synthetic” fathers? A few genes from this donor, a few from that, and a few more from over here to finish the job. A baby born from the resulting DNA could theoretically have any number of fathers, none of them traceable to an individual.

Of course it might be a tricky business if there’s more interrelationships between genes than previously expected. Then again, given sufficient care, the outcomes of various combinations could be tracked, selected for deireable traits, and in no time the banks would be out in the market with competing “superbaby sperm”.

Now there’s an ethical mess.