A single woman in Calgary who sought in vitro fertilization at the Regional Fertility Program was told she could only use sperm donations from donors who match her own race, the Calgary Herald reports.
"That's when everything went downhill," said the 38-year-old Caucasian woman, identified only as Catherine, adding that she was "absolutely floored" by the clinic's policy.
Administrative director Dr. Calvin Greene confirmed to the Herald that the private facility, the only one of its kind in Calgary, refuses treating anyone who wishes to use donors of a separate ethnicity.
"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 added that the clinic's doctors feel "a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to be able to identify with their ethnic roots."
The clinic's policy has existed since it opened in the 1980s, and its website elaborates on the guideline: "it 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."
Tim Caulfield, a University of Alberta law professor and legal expert in assisted reproduction, described the rule as "archaic."
Catherine said she wanted to seek more diverse candidates because she had a limited pool of potential Caucasian donors who met her standards, many of whom had already been used by other local patients.
But Greene disagreed that the selection was a restricted one.
"She needs to look harder, because I can tell you reasonable people can easily find a suitable donor," he said.
Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.