Reported by Liku Zelleke
When Catherine (who asked that only her first name be used) went to the only fertility treatment center in her city, she said that she was informed that they restricted patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who did not match their ethnic backgrounds.
The single woman said that when she approached the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary, Canada, to seek invitro-fertilization, she was told during a routine consultation with her doctor that she would only be allowed to use sperm from donors who were white, like her.
“I was absolutely floored. That’s when everything when downhill,” She said.
The clinic’s administrative director, Dr. Calvin Greene, corroborated the fact and said that their “no mixing” policy had been in place since the center started operations in the 80’s. “I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants. That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic,” he added.
He went on to say that he and his colleagues felt that a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to identify with their ethnic roots and that patients should have a cultural connection to their donors.
In a response as to why Catherine would want to have a child that was not from her ethnic background, she said that by the time she had narrowed her pool of potential donors to those that met Canadian standards, had a good health history and a compatible blood type, she was left with a choice of about 20 candidates. Many of these same candidates, she noted, had already been used several times by other patients in Calgary.
Catherine said, “Frankly, it’s appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy. A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked.”
She added that accepting donors from other ethnic backgrounds increased her choices and that she was less concerned about the color of her child’s skin.