Black women who rely on sperm banks as their avenue into motherhood are being met with a Black sperm donor shortage.
While the issue doesn’t impact all Black women using sperm banks, it affects all of them hoping to share the same racial background and experiences with their child.
Black men only represent 2 percent of sperm donors in the country’s four largest sperm banks, according to The Washington Post.
The disparity exists due to many factors, one of which is the “failure of sperm banks to recruit Black donors.”
Other roadblocks phasing out potential Black donors surround sperm banks’ selection process.
Due to historical and systemic racism, many Black men have a “mistrust the medical profession,” leaving them with gaps in their medical histories.
The lack of knowledge about their health generationally locks them out of the donor pool — as many banks require their donors to provide a medical history going back three generations.
The collection agencies also exclude those with felony convictions, of which Black men are disproportionally incarcerated.
Men who’ve had sex with other men in the last five years are also banned from donating sperm by the FDA, which rules out Black gay men who’d be willing to donate.
“Proper screening isn’t getting done when you go private. Intended recipients and donors need to make sure they aren’t carrying the same recessive mutations or same genetic issues that could manifest in the child,” said Richard Vaughn, an attorney specializing in fertility law, according to The Grio.
“When people work through licensed sperm banks, there’s a system of checks and balances and medical screening.”
The disparity of Black sperm donors leaves many Black women with two options: raising a biracial child or getting sperm from an unregulated source.
Journalist Amber Ferguson further highlighted that while the waitlist for a white donor is “about three months,” those seeking sperm from a Black donor may wait “up to 18 months.”
“If it’s a White woman, she could just so easily get a sperm donor,” the journalist said in a podcast for The Post. “And if it doesn’t work, she can get another one. She can get another one. For a Black woman, if she is lucky enough to find a Black donor, it’s really maybe one of her only chances.”
Aside from shared identity, Black women seek Black sperm donors because they want to resemble their child as closely as possible.
Other women told the outlet they didn’t want to be mistaken as their child’s nanny.
“I’d say I spent 40 hours a week looking for a donor. All together, I think I searched more than 800 hours,” women’s prison guard Reese Brooks said about her sperm donor search.
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