No 'rainbow families' policy outdated, fertility clinic says
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:46PM EDT
A Calgary fertility clinic accused of denying a woman mixed-race fertilization now claims it eliminated its race-restrictive policy more than a year ago.
Calgary's Regional Fertility Program issued a statement on its website Monday to distance itself from comments made by its administrative director, who allegedly said the clinic does not make "rainbow families." The statement says the clinic stopped restricting mixed-race fertilization more than a year ago, but the policy was not updated on its website. "This was an oversight and that older policy has now been removed," the statement says.
"The clinic does not permit any form of discrimination on the basis of stereotypes, including race, gender or sexual orientation," the clinic says. "Since changing our policy last year, the clinic has treated numerous patients who have requested donors of different ethnicity."
The clinic came under fire last week after a Calgary woman said the Regional Fertility Program restricted her from using sperm that did not match her ethnicity. The Regional Fertility Program's Dr. Calvin Greene then allegedly told the Calgary Herald that the clinic has been restricting mixed-race fertilization since the 1980s.
"I'm not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that's what she wants," reads a quote attributed to Greene. "That's her prerogative, but that's not her prerogative in our clinic."
The Regional Fertility Program says Dr. Greene speaks for himself and his comments do not reflect the clinic's position on mixed-race fertilization.
Dr. Greene was named the clinic's medical director in 1995 and is now its administrative director, the Regional Fertility Program website says.
CTVNews.ca has retrieved an older version of the clinic's web page that outlines its position. The page was last updated on July 26, a day after the Calgary newspaper story broke. "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," the webpage said. It added that the policy is meant to protect a prospective child's best interests. "The health and well-being of children born through the application of assisted human reproductive technologies must be given priority in all decisions," it said.
Bioethicist Kerry Bowman from the University of Toronto said the clinic's now-defunct policy is problematic in that it implies children are better-served by growing up with racially homogenous parents. "If the assumption is that it is not in the best interest to be in a racially mixed family, that's very bizarre," Bowman told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. "Women will decide for themselves how they want their family to be constructed."