Black Sperm Donor Shortage Leaves Black Women in a Quandary

    Dr. Tia Jackson-Bey is interviewed by CBS News

    *A shortage of Black sperm donors nationwide has left Black women with some hard decisions to make.

    CBS News looked into California Cryobank, Fairfax Cryobank, Seattle Sperm Bank and Xytex, considered the four major U.S. cryo-banks, and found that 53% of the available sperm is from white donors, while less than 4% is from Black donors. This leaves many Black women like Jamila Galloway with a choice between having a child that doesn’t reflect their own race and culture, or not having a baby at all.

    Galloway, 40 and single, decided to use a sperm donor to have a child, and had hoped for a baby that looked like her. However, her options dwindled when she filtered the search for donors of her own race. Her options dropped from hundreds to just a handful. “It almost felt like I was having a bit of my decision taken away from me,” she told CBS News.

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    Dr. Tia Jackson-Bey, a fertility doctor in New York City, said every patient of color at her practice has experienced the struggle of finding a sperm donor who shares their background, adding: “Historically donors have been recruited from places where maybe Black men are not present, you know, institutions of higher learning, certain areas, geographic areas in the country.” (Watch Dr. Jackson-Bey’s interview with CBS News above.)

    Most cryobanks require medical history that goes back three generations, which not all Black Americans have access to. As a result, many Black women across the country, like half-Black and half-Croatian woman Angela Stepancic, eventually give up on finding Black donors.

    “It’s America, we’re supposed to have all the choices that we want, but we really don’t have any choices in this process, and this is the one process that really impacts our legacy the rest of our lives, you know our future. As, as a family and as a people,” she said.

    Initially, having a Black baby was a must for Angela Stepancic. But, she realized she had to give up that non-negotiable aspect in order to have a baby. Stepancic welcomed a multi-racial baby girl last year with her wife via sperm donor. Her experience has inspired her plan to open the first Black-owned cryobank in the country that will give Black women “warmth, safety and options.”

    “I want to give them access to the same amount of options that every other couple has going through this process,” Stepancic said.

    Reproductive Village, Stepancic’s Cryobank, is set to open in Washington, D.C., and will prioritize recruiting Black donors. It will also have drop-off locations in cities that include Houston and Atlanta.

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