Patterico's Pontifications


No Rainbow Families

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A private fertility clinic in Calgary has caused a commotion with their policy that refuses to use sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their client’s ethnic background.

A single, 38-year old, white female named Catherine had specific reasons for seeking a non-caucasian donor:

By the time she narrowed down her pool of potential donors to those who met Canadian standards, had a good health history and a compatible blood type, she was left with only 20 or so Caucasian candidates to choose from. Many of them had already been used by several other patients in Calgary.

“Frankly, it’s appalling how many people have the same donors, probably because of this policy,” she said. “A friend of mine just went through this process and used the donor that I would have picked.”

Looking at other ethnicities significantly increased her options. While many people do want children who will look like them, she said she is less concerned with the colour of her potential child’s skin than the demeanour, personality and health history it might inherit from its biological father.

For their part, the clinic’s administrative director Dr. Calvin Greene expressed concern for “rainbow families”:

“I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants,” he said. “That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

Greene said doctors at the clinic feel “a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to be able to identify with their ethnic roots.” He added patients should have a “cultural connection” to their donors.

Greene was adamant the rule follows the spirit of Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which demands doctors place priority on the well-being of potential children and refrain from producing “designer” babies.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission ruled in favor of the policy when it was challenged by a non-infertile white couple who requested a non-caucasian donor, finding that since they were not infertile and there was no cultural relationship to a non-caucasian donor, the policy would be upheld.

Also, it should be noted that according to Greene:

[I]nterracial couples treated at the clinic have the option of using donors that are ethnically similar to either one of the partners.”

He observed that most clients want their children to resemble them.

The clinic’s policy reflects similar guidelines used with “in-province” adoption and foster care – that is, every effort is made to place children with families of the same cultural background.

Further, when and if the clinic’s policy compels women to seek another clinic, it can get complicated:

[T]he Regional Fertility Program is the only fertility clinic in Calgary, so patients must go to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver or beyond if they don’t agree with its policy. Women receiving fertility treatment often need daily or very frequent treatments for a matter of months.

Is the denial to “Catherine”, and others making similar requests, fulfilling the mandate to give priority to the well-being of potential children and refrain from producing “designer” babies or is it an antiquated carryover from a non-post-racial world?

(As an aside, it’s interesting to note that a single woman seeking a sperm donor doesn’t even raise a brow in today’s modern world. Even making the observation may be viewed as antiquated.)


UPDATE: The clinic claims the policy had been reversed a year ago:

The clinic’s spokeswoman, Paula Arab, said in a statement that the Regional Fertility Program had failed to update its website sooner due to an “oversight.”

“Since changing our policy last year, the clinic has treated numerous patients who have requested donors of different ethnicity.”

32 Responses to “No Rainbow Families”

  1. Catherine sweet pickles just send me a specimen cup and a thermos

    I’m here for you

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  2. Two Polish men were chatting. One said to the other. “What you got there?”
    “A thermos.” came the reply.
    “What’s that?” said the first man.
    “It keeps things hot and cold”, he explained.
    “What you got in it, then?” he queried.
    “A cup of coffee and an ice cream…”

    I’ll be here all week.

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  3. It sure has hell raised my brow. Single women shouldn’t be raising children, except in emergencies.

    John Moore (ac5430)

  4. Republicans should be in charge of the whole enchilada about reproducing children and other vagina slash uterus stuff

    even in Canada

    why is this so hard for people to understand?

    can’t they read a resume?

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  5. Why is she being so selfish purposely wanting to birth a child without a father? It has been shown over and over that the best place for a child is within an intact marriage of a man and a woman. Children in any other circumstance have a higher incidence of crime, drug use, depression, poor grades, …

    Hey Catherine,

    Get married and do it the old fashioned way, otherwise stop being so selfish and think of the potential harm you would be doing to your child. Remember it’s in the best interests of the child.

    Tanny O'Haley (87b2aa)

  6. Republicans would be well-served by trying to run a country. Trying to sort out how one entertains its naughty bits and the result is best left to, well, the left. That seems important to them for some reason to the point that there must be laws about such.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  7. “Do what you like… you just can’t do it here”

    steveg (794291)

  8. look what the progressives and leftists want to do now…
    dating licenses… potentially what this leads to is
    say you have a dating license… and the person your attracted
    to doesn’t – can’t date them. …however the government has
    a list of likely highly unattractive people you will be
    forced to date ….refuse? well how are
    they going to enforce it other than through
    penalties/a tax/or a fine?

    YourMaster (c7e392)

  9. Republicans would be well-served by trying to run a country. Trying to sort out how one entertains its naughty bits and the result is best left to, well, the left. That seems important to them for some reason to the point that there must be laws about such.

    At the point we’re at, if the Republicans weren’t busy trying to sort out its naughty bits (and those of others) how else would we know they were any different than Democrats?

    Because that’s about where we’re at right now.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  10. With all due respect to PJTV and that poor woman interviewed, that is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  11. Touche’ Dana.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  12. I thought it was a private clinic… they should be able to do whatever they want.
    No shoes No shirt No service or.. we are out of compatible afro- canadian sperm
    as long as they don’t take your money, they don’t have to provide any service

    SteveG (794291)

  13. Who did Catherine ask for in a pinch?

    The Caucasian.

    The Fighting Whities

    Accept no substitute.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  14. An intelligent socialist state would send this _____ to the Yukon Territory to sweep snowmobile tracks off the newly-fallen snow. A stupid socialist state permits her to breed and bothers to be bothered about her breeding choices. O, Canada.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. … a single woman seeking IVF treatment…

    Usagge Nazi sez: She wants artificial insemination, not In Vitro Fertilization, which is a much more expensive and difficult process.

    Rich Rostrom (7a3466)

  16. Too bad she doesn’t live in England. The NIH is now starting a sperm bank for lesbians because…rainbow.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  17. Catherine didn’t start out looking for a colored sperm donor.

    By the time she narrowed down her pool of potential donors to those who met *Canadian standards, had a good health history and a compatible blood type, she was left with only 20 or so Caucasian candidates to choose from. Many of them had already been used by several other patients in Calgary.

    Consequently, it was when Catherine began to consider donors of different races that she ran into the clinic’s same race policy. Since the clinic’s limited stable of white donors is inadequate, the obvious solution is to expand the available pool.

    The propriety of single women having children is a separate issue. Any civilized society would give priority to the child’s needs and would identify consciously depriving a child of a mother or a father as unacceptably abusive. Unfortunately, some women (and some men) are so desperate to have children they’re willing to handicap the child’s future welfare to satisfy their own immediate (and illegitimate) desires.

    * What are Canadian standards?

    ropelight (670cff)

  18. I’m surprised that a city the size of Calgary has only one fertility clinic. Even so each individual clinic should be free to set their own policies free from government interference. While it is a good thing that the Alberta Human Rights Commission ruled in favor of the clinic, it is unfortunate the the Commission even had to get involved.

    Whatever one things about the different options that are available to would be parents in today’s modern society, there is little to nothing that a government can do to stop it. If, for example, my home state of New Jersey passed a law requiring those seeking fertility treatments to pick a sperm/egg donor from someone with a similar ethnic background as the person seeking treatment, the parent seeking something different could just go to New York or Pennsylvania for such treatments. If the US government passed such a policy a person could go to a country that doesn’t limit a person’s options.

    But the moral questions don’t end there. Technology in this area is advancing rapidly. We are approaching a “Brave New World” of artificial wombs, artificial eggs and artificial sperm. With artificial wombs a single man would be able to have a child of his own without getting a woman pregnant. Scientists are working on creating artificial female eggs from male DNA. This would enable a gay couple to create a child that has two biological fathers. While it will be more complicated to create artificial sperm from a woman’s DNA (women don’t have the male Y chromosome while males do have the female X chromosome), science is still advancing to the point where a lesbian couple can conceive a child that is 100 percent biologically related to both mothers.

    Like I said, there is little to nothing a government can do to stop this. People are going to have to learn how to accept such advances in technology.

    Joe (33fd9a)

  19. Thanks, Rich Rostrom at #15. Correction made. I was reading several different articles on IVF and sperm donation programs when writing the post.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  20. This story reminded me of an episode of “The Outer Limits”. Good news. It is on Hulu.,p20,d0

    Joe (33fd9a)

  21. Republicans would be well-served by trying to run a country. Trying to sort out how one entertains its naughty bits and the result is best left to, well, the left.

    I’m reminded of those people, generally self-described moderates or centrists, who proudly say they’re fiscal or economic conservatives but also label themselves as social-cultural liberals. They happily proclaim that politicians and the government should be focused on the economic well-being of society and leave social issues either to the left (eg, the type of people who dominate the public school system and colleges, and Hollywood and the media) or libertarians.

    The conclusion reached in the following study can make either side of that ideological divide feel their position is backed up or at least not totally challenged by reality.

    However, I’ll point out that in this era of cheap compassion for compassion’s sake, it’s interesting (and ironic) that the concept of “think of the children—what is best for them?!” (eg, when parents are considering a divorce or getting married to begin with—since “out of wedlock” is now a quaint phrase) has been slowly eroded away by the ethos of “if it feels good, do it!,” or a desire of self-entitlement first and foremost., Sara McLanahan: [M]y colleagues and I have been analyzing several large, nationally representative surveys that contain information on children’s family structure growing up as well as their educational attainment and social adjustment in young adulthood.

    Our investigation has been going on for over 10 years now and covers more than 10 data sets. The most important of these are the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), the High School and Beyond Study (HSB), and the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). All of these surveys are large enough to allow us to distinguish among different types of single parent families, including families headed by never-married mothers as well as families headed by divorced or separated mothers and remarried mothers. These surveys also allow us to compare differences between boys and girls raised in one- and two-parent families as well as differences between children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and different social classes.

    To summarize briefly, we find that children who grow up apart from their biological fathers do less well, on average, than children who grow up with both natural parents. They are less likely to finish high school and attend college, less likely to find and keep a steady job, and more likely to become teen mothers. The differences are not huge. Indeed, most children who grow up with a single parent do quite well. Nor are they large enough to support the claim that father absence is the major cause of our country’s most serious social problems. However, the differences between children in one- and two-parent families are not so small as to be inconsequential, and there is fairly good evidence that father absence per se is responsible for at least some of them.

    Why would this be so? Why would the loss of a biological father reduce a child’s chances of success? We argue that when fathers live apart from their child, they are less likely to share their incomes with the child, and, consequently, mothers and children usually experience a substantial decline in their standard of living when the father moves out. We estimate that as much as half of the disadvantage associated with father absence is due to the economic insecurity and instability. Another quarter is due to the loss of parental time and supervision, and the rest is probably due to a loss of social capital attributable in large measure to the higher incidence of residential mobility among single mothers and remarried mothers.

    Stated differently, if parents who decide to live apart were able to cushion their child from the economic instability and disruptions in neighborhood ties that often accompany the breakup of a family, and if single mothers were able to establish and maintain regular routines and effective systems of supervision, their children would likely do just as well as children raised in two-parent families. The problem is, these objectives are very difficult to achieve.

    Mark (2604a9)

  22. I’ve updated the post with a statement by the clinic’s spokesperson.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  23. The picture of health:

    Don’t expect Federal spending on illegals to keep your gas tank full.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  24. Is just marrying the boy next door too vanilla anymore?

    …hey, I think I just coined a country music lyric!

    The Sanity Inspector (43fc5d)

  25. I dunno, I’m a mutt, my wife is a totally different mutt and we’ve done OK for 50 years.

    Glenn (647d76)

  26. Miscegenation was always a high crime to the adherents of Jim Crow. Tribalism and the politics of racial polarization don’t work in a mongrelized world. But I don’t think that’s what going on with Dr. Greene.

    It’s really this passage that I think is telling:

    “I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants,” he said. “That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

    The kind doctor seems to think that single women are a self-indulgent, culturally destructive force and that their fatherless children, especially ones of mixed race, are their victims. Who’s to argue? That he wants no part of it is to his credit.

    Ps. I particularly enjoy the titles you give to your posts, Dana.

    ThOR (130453)

  27. Re: the update. If the clinic’s policy was reversed over a year ago, what was the origin of Catherine’s complaint and where did the Calgary Herld’s reporter, Jessica Barrett, obtain Dr Green’s quotes? This controversy seems unable to withstand exposure to the facts.

    ropelight (670cff)

  28. So the doctor is creating families in a new and controversial way, but he gets his back up when a white woman opts for a non-white baby?

    Another of the weird but true incoherencies in leftist dogma. The far right has their inconsistencies too but the left has always claimed superiority because they supposedly don’t.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  29. 27 ThOR (130453) — 8/3/2014 @ 12:49 pm: Miscegenation was always a high crime to the adherents of Jim Crow…

    Then why did they practice it so much? E.g. Strom Thurmond. There’s a reason why most American “blacks” are clearly part white, and many are mostly white (e.g. Reverend Jeremiah Wright.)

    Rich Rostrom (eff8b3)

  30. ropelight,

    According to the article: During routine consultations with her doctor she was told she could only use sperm from donors who were white, like her.

    Here is a complete transcript of the reporter’s conversation with Dr. Calvin Greene, administrative director of Calgary’s Regional Fertility Program.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  31. Dana, thank you. According to the article and the transcript not only Dr Green but also Catherine’s fertility doctor were both strangely unaware the clinic’s policy had been changed over a year previously, nor had the clinic’s website been updated to reflect the policy reversal. Dr Green is the clinic’s administrator director, he more than any one else on the medical staff should have been well aware of the abrupt change (it couldn’t have happened in a vacuum) and fully familiar with then current policy. From the transcript, Dr Green strikes me as a competent, caring, no-nonsense, professional who puts the child’s welfare first, and it comes through loud and clear he’s operating under the old policy’s restrictions on designer babies. In fact, even if the new policy permits different race donors the clinic’s ban on designer babies apparently remains in place. Perhaps the policy was changed suddenly and without informing clinic staff.

    In any case, for me, the issue still comes back to Catherine’s inability to identify a suitable donor from the clinic’s stable of Caucasian donors. If the clinic’s pool of white candidates is too limited or too oversubscribed then the solution is to expand the pool or make her selection from another clinic’s stable. However, in Catherine’s case the fact she’s single and seeking artificial insemination should by itself require psychological and financial evaluations prior to any sort of fertility treatment. If she’s complaining the same race pool is too narrow in order to circumvent the ban on designer babies then she’s clearly putting her desires above the future welfare of the child and should be turned away.

    ropelight (add328)

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