This story is part of Black Ballad’s takeover of HuffPost UK, a week-long series by Black women on parenting, family, and our post-Covid future.
When I tell people I found the sperm donor for my child on social media, they visibly cringe. It’s only when I take the time to explain the shortage of Black donors in sperm banks that their judgement starts to wane. I went through the process three years ago, but it’s sad to see that since then, little has changed.
I approached finding a donor much like online dating. To optimise my chances, I selected a bank that boasted being Britain’s “largest provider of donor sperm”. I made a list of traits I’d like the donor to have – and a few dealbreakers. I wanted a donor who was Black like me, because I’d be raising the child alone and didn’t think I’d be able to provide the right support for the child’s other culture.
The sperm bank’s website invited me to filter my search according to race, hair colour, eye colour, and height. When I selected Black for race and pressed enter, I was told that “unfortunately”, my search didn’t come up with any options. Hoping this was an issue with that particular bank, I tried two other British sperm banks – but the result was equally disappointing.
One bank came back to me with two potential donors. I rang a few days later to ask for more information, but one of them was no longer available as he’d met the 10-family limit each donor is allowed to create. The other had requested his sperm only be given to heterosexual couples so, as a single woman looking for a donor, I wasn’t eligible.
I had no choice but to widen my search to Europe. Many American banks aren’t compliant with the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulations and can’t be...