Biracial Baby: Sperm Bank Colors a Child's Future

By YOVANNA GARCIA
On October 9, 2014

A white Ohio woman is suing a sperm bank for artificially inseminating and impregnating her with the sperm of an African-American sperm donor instead of the chosen donor, a “blond hair, blue eyed individual,” reports Today.com.

The lesbian couple is filing a “wrongful birth” lawsuit, a legal cause of action in which the parents of a diseased child claim their doctor failed to properly warn of their risk of conceiving or giving birth to a child with serious genetic or congenital abnormalities. This argument, then, allows the plaintiffs to sue the defendant for preventing them from making a truly informed decision as to whether or not to have the child.

The lawsuit, filed by 36-year-old Jennifer Cramblett, has allegedly been prompted two years after the fact because of the racially-motivated microaggressions that the couple is experiencing from birthing and caring for a 2-year-old biracial baby.

In the legal document, Cramblett describes living daily with the “fears, anxieties and uncertainty” about her child’s future in their all-white, racially intolerant town, reports CNN.com.  

The couple is seeking more than $50,000 in damages from Midwest Sperm Bank, claiming that they will use some of the money to move to a more diverse community for their daughter.

Other damages, as stated in the lawsuit, include having to drive into the black neighborhoods, in which Cramblett feels unsafe, to get the 2-year-old’s hair done.

Dealing with blackness in a culturally insensitive community has never been an issue for the two white mothers, who grew up privileged and benefitting from a system of institutionalized racism.

Raising a biracial baby girl has become taxing and inconvenient for the couple, but it would be dishonest if I said that I feel even a little bit sad for them.

The lawsuit is not really about medical malpractice; the truth of the matter is that the biracial baby completely overturned the two women’s spoils of white privilege, and they just cannot deal with it.  

The couple’s “inability” to raise a biracial baby unveils an ugly truth about cultural competency and racism in American society.

Decades of slavery and redlining, where race and ethnicity determined mortgage eligibility in communities, perpetuated housing segregation and has since aided the institution of racism in our society.

Only now that it is difficult for Camblett and her partner to raise their daughter in an all-white community do they realize that something is not right about the system of inequality that has been working in their favor their entire lives.

There is also something to say about the fact that the community in which the two women live is seemingly more accepting of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals than it is of people of color.

Cramblett’s lawyer, Tim Misny, has been cited as saying that the couple wants to make sure that something like this, where someone is given the wrong donor number, does not happen again to another couple.

“This is not 1954. This is 2014,” Misny said. “Having a system where office clerks manually write down numbers with a ballpoint pen is scary-stupid.”

While I do agree with Misny that office clerks and medical practitioners of any kind should follow more rigid regulations when handling something so sensitive, I find it ironic that he would imply we should be a more advanced society given the year.

Yes, we should be in a much better state as a society and culture than we are with a lot of things, especially with race.

This case will hopefully start a conversation about allyship within different marginalized communities. For me, this conversation is about a white lesbian who was not an ally to people of color because she was fine with the lack of black representation in her life until she birthed a biracial baby.

The white couple’s inability to cope with blackness is a reminder that we should rethink our idea of allyship and how we can better serve underrepresented and marginalized communities.

ygarcia@ramapo.edu

                              

 

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