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Whither the redhead?

Mad Men's Christina Hendricks may have ignited the red carpet at the Emmys on Sunday, but out in the real world the reception for redheads is less than lukewarm.

Cryos International – the world's largest sperm bank – has begun to reject donations from redheads, reports.

"There are too many redheads in relation to demand," Ole Schou, the sperm bank's director, reportedly told Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet.

Customers rarely go for redheads unless the sterile male has red hair, or a lone woman has a preference for redheads, Mr. Schou explained. The only exception is Ireland, where sperm from redheads sell "like hotcakes."

Anne of Green Gables would read it and weep.

Unless the carrot tops among us start doing some serious PR, the anti-redhead sentiment could mean the end of flame-haired beauties such as Julianne Moore, Lindsay Lohan and Marcia Cross.

As it is, those with the "ginger gene" account for less than 2 per cent of the population, reports the Washington Post.

Scarlet-haired women have a bad rap because of stereotypes that brand them as ruthless, volatile sex-crazed firecrackers. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, has done her redheaded sisters no favours in the image department.

Meanwhile, pumpkin-haired men are portrayed as Bozo the Clownish or just plain odd. (Exhibit A is Seth Green, better known as Doctor Evil's son.)

Plenty of celebs – including Ms. Hendricks – go titian by choice with a little help from Ms. Clairol. ( True Blood's Deborah Ann Woll reportedly prefers L'Oreal.) So when push comes to shove, they can always go back to their roots.

Why are redheads a hit onscreen but not in real life?