What if you went to a sperm bank, chose a donor that was same race as you, and when the baby was born she was a different race from you and what you had selected? Well that’s what has happened to a white lesbian couple in Ohio who now find themselves raising a mixed-race girl.
A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.
Jennifer Cramblett, of Uniontown, Ohio, alleges in the lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court that Midwest Sperm Bank sent her the vials of an African-American donor’s sperm in September 2011 instead of those of a white donor that she and her white partner had ordered.
After searching through pages of comprehensive histories for their top three donors, the lawsuit claims, Cramblett and her domestic partner, Amanda Zinkon, chose donor No. 380, who was also white. Their doctor in Ohio received vials from donor No. 330, who is African-American, the lawsuit said.
Well this is definitely a yikes situation. People tend to view having a child as blessing, but what if you weren’t prepared for the baby to be of a different race than you? Especially if you are a white couple and have no real experience dealing with people of color in general, let alone trying to raise a little Black girl.
The Tribune reported:
“On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl,” the lawsuit states. “Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton’s future.”
Raising a mixed-race daughter has been stressful in Cramblett and Zinkon’s small, all-white community, according to the suit. Cramblett was raised around people with stereotypical attitudes about nonwhites, the lawsuit states, and did not know African-Americans until she attended college at the University of Akron.
“Because of this background and upbringing, Jennifer acknowledges her limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogenous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant,” the lawsuit states.
Part of that learning curve has included getting her daughter’s hair cut, which according to the suit requires Cramblett to travel to a black neighborhood, “where she is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome.”
A lawsuit might help them financially, but it will not change the fact that this couple now has the responsibility of doing their best to raise a loved and well rounded mixed-race child. While their acknowledgment of their blind spots of child rearing a Black child are noteworthy, they are going to have to figure out ways to adapt and expose their daughter to the best environment possible where she is able to thrive.
Cramblett’s therapists have already insisted that for her and her child’s well-being, they move to a diverse neighborhood with good schools. This would be a step in the right direction. Hopefully they can continue to move forward and build a life together, even though it’s different from what they envisioned.