I want a mutt
I want a mutt
Wanted: A Few Good Sperm
By JENNIFER EGAN
Sperm banks do try to address the amorphous question of character; many include psychological studies of donors as well as "staff impressions." Some offer audiotaped interviews in addition to the lengthy written questionnaires, but Daniela said she felt that these materials would only confuse her. She did have a few ideas of what she might look for: she wanted a man of her same blood type, O positive. Because she herself is so tall, she preferred a medium height. (Short donors don't exist; because most women seek out tall ones, most banks don't accept men under 5-foot-9.) She was also attracted by the idea of a donor of another race. "I believe in multiculturalism," she said. "I would probably choose somebody with a darker skin color so I don't have to slather sunblock on my kid all the time. I want it to be a healthy mix. You know how mixed dogs are always the nicest and the friendliest and the healthiest? If you get a clear race, they have all the problems. Mutts are always the friendly ones, the intelligent ones, the ones who don't bark and have a good character. I want a mutt." Her African-American friends questioned this strategy, suggesting that her child's life would be harder if he or she was perceived as nonwhite, but Daniela said: "If that's what I believe, I have to go by that. And it might help the world also if more people are doing it that way."
While many single mothers look for donors whose features and coloring resemble their own, Daniela's attraction to a diverse gene pool isn't so unusual. A 40-year-old African-American woman I spoke with wanted a Latino donor so that her child would have lighter skin and nonkinky hair. "I'm the African-American," she told me. "The child will get that from me." Q., a 43-year-old health-care manager who attended a yeshiva from kindergarten through high school (she asked that I use only one of her initials), first sought out a Jewish donor. "Everybody either had glasses, they're balding or their grandmother was diabetic and had heart disease — typical Jewish population," she told me. Her solution: a 6-foot-2 Catholic, German stock on both sides, with curly blond hair and blue eyes. "He really was the typical Aryan perfect human being," she said, laughing. "He was a bodybuilder. He played the guitar and the drums, and he sang. He was captain of the rugby team in college. When I had the in vitro process done, the embryologist said: 'This is some of the best sperm I've ever seen. It just about jumped out of the test tubes."' Q.'s golden-curled, blue-eyed daughter has just turned 2.
For the moment, though, Daniela was still hoping that this recent insemination with her friend's sperm would take. She dreamed of a little girl. And like virtually all of the prospective single mothers I spoke with, she had every intention of finding a mate after the child was born. "Taking this whole 'I have to find the father of my child' out of the equation might make it a lot more relaxed and easier," she said. "The guys are smelling it, and they run." And even if the guy held still, he might not be the one you'd pick — or even consider — if you weren't desperate for kids. "I see so many women who are in unhealthy relationships, where they really just try to get married and then have a child and break it off," Daniela said. "If they would consider this as an option, I think they would be happier, and the children would be happier."
OK, last week, we kicked around adoption.
What I said then was that I think some people don't realize that they will be dealing with complex racial issues.
This week, well, let's kick it up a notch.
All of these women have serious issues about race. I want a mutt?
She's not buying a dog, she's going to have a black child in America. There may be biracial people, but they get treated as non-white. I can't say what's more horriying, the woman who wants an Aryan child or the one who wants a "mutt" and ignoring her horrified but tactful African-American friends.
OK, Jen, as you may know, is a blue eyed, natural blonde woman who looks fairly Scandianvian. Her cousin looks biracial, but isn't. How black does she look?
Well, she was flying from Dallas back to New York, and she was chatting up a black doctor. They flirted for hours. Until he asked her where she lived. She said in a basement studio, so he asked her "you live in Bed Stuy?"
And she said "Yeah, I'm the only white chick living in Bed Stuy"
And he nearly leaped up out of his seat and said to the entire plane "you're white!!!!!!"
This was not the first time this has happened to her.
What is so sad is that these women are building designer babies like they have in Build a Bear. Only problem is, that when these kids don't look like anyone else in the family, then the problems start. That German woman is completely unprepared for the racial hositility a black child can meet in America. She thinks it's like going to the pound.
Well, it isn't. All of those children will grow up in America, with it's biases and realizations. They used to call Jen Snow White, because she was the only blonde in her family. Even her brother has dark hair. And that's mild.
The black woman is so fearul of kinky hair that she wants a Latino father? Uh, that's no guarantee of anything, latino isn't a race. She just can't say she wants a white father for her child.
I read this and am just saddened. It's all about what these women want, not how these kids will make their way in the world.
posted by Steve @ 7:09:00 AM