Calgary clinic under fire for restricting sperm donor selection

The Calgary Herald published a story on July 25 outlining how a woman seeking fertility treatment at the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary, Alberta, Canada was restricted from using donated sperm, eggs, or embryos that did not share her Caucasian ethnicity. The article cited the private fertility clinic’s policy from their website:

“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.”

When asked for a statement, clinic administrative director, Dr. Calvin Greene commented, “I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just become some single woman decides that that’s what she wants.”

The story caught media attention and soon was a hot topic across North America. Since the article was published, the Regional Fertility Program’s spokesperson, Paula Arab, claims that the centre’s website hadn’t been updated to reflect the removal of this policy. Apparently, patients are now permitted to choose donors from any ethnicity. She stated:

“The comments in recent news reports that were attributed to Dr. Cal Green represent his own opinions and do not reflect policies at the clinic. Dr. Greene, a respected family physician, was speaking as an individual physician on the ethics of fertility.”

This story raises concerns about the rights of clinics to impose restrictions on the choice of sperm, egg, and embryo donors, when they do not reflect the ethnic background of the intended parent(s).

Read more about third party options here and about sperm donation here.

Read the Calgary Herald story here.

Read more about the controversy here.

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