Choosing a donor is a very intimate, strategic process. It is different for everyone going through this process but the main similarity is that you want someone healthy.
For us, we have very specific requirements: the donor needed to reflect the one who’s eggs aren’t being used (physically and mentally), they needed to have a similar intelligence, and they had to be the race of the person who’s eggs aren’t being used.
Race is one of the biggest factors in our decision.
Being a biracial Black woman and my wife, Indian, we both understand the unique outlook that we have on the world due to our race and our culture. We both want to share the history and culture associated with our races with our children but we also understand that it’s deeper than that.
There are some hard truths that we have come to understand growing up black and indian: We don’t live in a colorblind world. It’s naive to think that we do. We also live in a world that is anti-black.
Race can be heavy, especially right now in a country where being black and brown can be dangerous. We simply can’t overlook that – especially when it comes to our children. It’s important that our children are a reflection of both of us but, also, being black and indian will give our children a special reliability and understanding that we simply can’t deny.
But denying our children equal parts of our background is something we don’t think is fair and would be irresponsible on our part. We’ve seen other couples want the same donor for their children at the expense of one or more of their children not being the same race as the other. We felt that we couldn’t make that choice – that them having the commonality of race and understanding will be more important than genetics.
They will all be Indian and Black. They will walk the line of two cultures with a long history and community. If we had chosen only one donor for the both of us – say an Indian donor – some of our children will miss our on the black culture. Yes, we could easily teach them but there is still a distance. Also, half of our children, intentionally, would hold more privilege than our other children. (I want to explain “intentionally” – this would be a completely different conversation if this was through adoption. We are -intentionally- creating our children by choosing their donors and who’s eggs we are using.) The children who would be only Indian would have more privilege over the children who would be both Indian and Black.
It’s important to understand the history of race in the world. It’s important to understand just how the world views race and how one can have more privilege than the other. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to play this game. In a perfect world, all races – although each unique – would hold the same amount of privilege. As much as our home will be a safe spot for our children, we understand that most of their lives are spent outside of it and it would be naive of us to assume that they wouldn’t experience a struggle based on their race or wonder why some of their siblings were denied being black.
There is a strong history of anti-blackness in many non-white communities. We can’t ignore this fact or forget this. It’s deep rooted and it has even trickled into the black community itself – an underlying tone of anti-blackness and colorism that is the fault of years of slavery, jim crow, and new jim crow laws and mentality.
We don’t want to continue that history and, as a black woman, I do not want to feel less than because of my race. I have been fetishized due to being biracial and I have also been torn down for being a black woman. In previous relationships, I have been told that we should go with a white donor because “Aren’t your white too?” and what I heard was “Isn’t being white better?” When you are mixed with black, you are black. Your government sees you as black. The community sees you as black. I am black.
I am very proud to be black. I understand the power that comes from the struggle. I understand the strength that has come from fighting and rising up. The blood in my veins is the same as of my ancestors who were taken from their land and forced into slavery. It’s strong. It’s rich. And it’s the same blood that I will pass to my children. It’s the heritage that I will give them. And I have seen many people, been in relationships where, they have chosen to have some of their children not reflect one parent’s black race.
Listening to the voices of mixed raced children and adults – especially those with siblings who don’t share their black background – they talk extensively about favoritism, the anti-blackness in their communities, and the struggles that they endure trying to fit in. From Latinx to Asian communities, that anti-blackness is there. It’s important to understand that underlying racism.
It’s also important that we don’t fetishize mixed race people. I’ve lived that, experienced that, and see it so much in threads and on websites. People will choose donors of different races so that their children would be “exotic”. Not cool.
It takes a lot of work to raise a child of a different race than yourself. Even in a relationship where you are married to someone of a different race. You have to do a lot of legwork. You have to take a step back and look at your thought processes. You have to learn about their culture. Appreciate their culture. You have to learn the struggles of being apart of their culture and how the world views their race. You have to make sure that you are uplifting your partner, your children, and their culture and race.
You can’t be colorblind when it comes to race.
We can’t be naive when it comes to our children and their future experiences. Our world is changing – yes – but race is still playing a huge part in our particular country.
It was an easy choice – a donor reflecting us – but it was also one that came with a ton of research and understanding how race plays in our world. And, eventually, theirs.
I feel very lucky that we found a donor who reflects me so well. A donor who, when baby and childhood photos compared to my own, confuses people on which is which. I feel that our children will be equal parts of us but also will have a strong foundation of exactly who they are and where they come from.