Whose Sperm Counts?

Whose Sperm Counts?

Nursing Clio: Because the Personal is Historical

Lara Freidenfelds, Historian of Sex, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in America

Recently, a Canadian fertility clinic made the news because it refused to allow a white client to be impregnated with sperm from a donor of color. The clinic director told the media, “I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants.”

When I first read this, I felt offended. Personally. My husband and I are different races, and our kids are bi-racial. I guess I had never proclaimed us a “rainbow family,” but ok. The clinic’s decision to avoid creating bi-racial children seemed like a judgment on my family. Like, my family’s not terrible or anything, but as a society we wouldn’t want to go making extra families like mine if we can stick to normal, uni-racial families. Am I a bad mother because I ignored race when I chose my spouse? Would it have been more responsible of me to have my kids with a white father?

The media and Canadian officials agreed with my gut feeling. Journalists have written highly critical stories. Through a spokesperson, Health Minister Rona Ambrose declared, “Our government believes that discrimination in any form is unacceptable.” Through my twitter feed came declarations of “old time racism” in Calgary.

So, case closed? If we chastise the backward clinic director and remove the race stipulation, everyone is happy, no one is second-class, and the infertility client can have a “rainbow family” just like mine?…

Read the entire article here.

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