Calgary Fertility Clinic Prohibits Women from Using Donors of Different Races

Trying to navigate the complex world of IVF is difficult enough: if you're looking to conceive, you have to go through rounds of medical consultations and undergo multiple procedures. But what if the clinic you had turned to for help complicated things further by implementing rules of questionable morality? A Canadian fertility clinic is prohibiting women from receiving sperm donations from men with different racial backgrounds. The logic: mixed-race families apparently can't form "cultural connections."

The Regional Fertility Program, located in Alberta, Canada, refused to allow a 38-year-old single mother to choose a non-Caucasian sperm donor. Catherine, who is Caucasian, had found more attractive qualities in donors of other racial backgrounds. However, the program prohibited her from using those donors and instead sent her a list of 20 Caucasian options. This is because it is, weirdly, against their policy (as stated on their website):

"Given that the health and well-being of children born through the application of assisted human reproductive technologies must be given priority in all is the practice of the Regional Fertility Program not to 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."

But Catherine didn't want one of the 20 Caucasian donors, partially because many other women in Calgary have used the same ones. "Frankly, it’s appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy,” she told the Calgary Herald. “A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked.” Which has the potential to create bizarre scenarios down the road: since over two-thirds of Calgary is white, imagine the Calgary gene pool getting taken over by these 20 men's sperm.

Dr. Calvin Greene, the clinic's administrative director, said, “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.” Which raises all kinds of questions. First, why are "rainbow families" discussed as if they're a bad thing? Are there not advantages to children growing up in mixed-race homes? Yes, the child would likely have to field rude questions from strangers, but what about the benefits of having a mom that looks different? Also, what is "some single woman" supposed to imply — that they can't make up their minds on their own? Silly single women, getting the idea into their heads that they should raise a baby!

According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, doctors don't have to provide treatment if they object on moral grounds, but they have to refer patients to other services. However, the Regional Fertility Clinic is the only service of its kind in Calgary. If you can't get the procedures you need there, have fun making the three-hour trip to Edmonton.

In any case, it's troubling that the clinic (and Dr. Greene) think that a cohesive family unit can't be formed by people of different skin colors, and that choosing a donor from the same race means creating some kind of instant, mysterious "cultural connection." Now that IVF is safer than ever and procedures are continuing to increase in popularity, it's important to re-evaluate these kinds of harmful standards.

Image: Tales of a Travelling Jeweller/Tumblr