Recently, a Canadian fertility clinic made headlines for not allowing couples to receive sperm donations from donors of a different race. A doctor from the clinic argued that the restriction was set in place to protect the child. The fertility clinic has since retracted its decades-old rule and allowed parents to choose sperm of any ethnicity, but is playing scientist with a child’s race a way to promote diversity, or a new form of racism?
A white woman, known only as Catherine, was denied sperm from other ethnicities by the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary because the clinic did not permit “the use of a sperm donor that would result in a future child appearing racially different than the recipient or the recipient’s partner,” Salon reported. The clinic has since retracted this outdated rule, stating that “no such policy exists,” and blamed website construction for the fact the policy was still listed on the site. “The change in policy reflects the multicultural society we live in today. The Regional Fertility Program respects ethnic diversity and the autonomy of the reproductive choices made by our patients,” clinic spokeswoman Paula Arab explained.
Not all doctors at Regional Fertility Program are happy with the clinic’s recent change in policy. Administrative Director Dr. Calvin Green told the Calgary Herald that he would not take part in the clinic’s race mixing, stating “I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that’s what she wants.” Although many were concerned with the clinic’s seemingly racist rule prohibiting interracial sperm donations, Green asked the question that many had been too reserved to vocalize: “Why would you not choose a sperm donor of your of your partner’s racial background?”
In Africa, the sale of racially diverse sperm in order to create children of a more desired coloring actually exists.“Gone are the days when to give birth to a mixed race (half-caste) baby is only through interracial marriage. Now any couple, single woman, etc., hoping to have a half-caste baby and thereby promote world integration can freely and easily have one,” the website HalfCasteBabies, which is now taken down, boasted, as reported by News One. The company explained they only wanted to create “one people, one world.” The business also seemed to promote the concept of colorism by favoring lighter skin over darker.
The story of one family from Ireland highlights the unforeseen hardship that can result from white parents having a child conceived with donated black sperm. The parents, both white, opted to have white sperm for their in vitro fertilization, but a mishap at the clinic caused the black sperm to be used instead. The family is now suing the clinic for the mistake, which they claimed “devastated our family and almost ruined our marriage.”
The father explained to the Daily Mail that his son often asks, “Why am I darker?” and “How can I make myself lighter, like you?” The family claims the young boy is often called racial slurs by passersby and the wife is constantly accused of having an affair. In short, the couple’s private issue with fertility has been put on display for the world.