I struggled for three long years to conceive my son. I identify as a white Jewish woman and am married to a black woman who has embraced Judaism fully.
When selecting a sperm donor, we went to the largest bank in the country and selected “black.” There were so few black sperm donors compared to white donors—an astonishing and very real fact. We ended up moving through four different black donors and three years of fertility treatments before I ultimately conceived my biracial child. Not once in those three years did I see a person of color, besides my wife, in the waiting room.
Surely, there must be people of color having fertility journeys, but they were invisible in the glossy fertility practices where we spent so much time. When I finally successfully conceived and delivered my son, one of our first tasks was to complete his birth certificate. We had to select if he was: White, Black or Hispanic.
I shared with the nurse that he was biracial, and I’ll never forget what she said: “Mark ‘Other.'” My son was “othered” at 5 minutes old. That is the plain truth of it.
We as Jews and as people living through fertility journeys have deep, healing work to do on personal and systemic levels. White Jews can hide their Jewish star necklaces inside our shirts if we ever feel threatened or sniff antisemitism. People of color cannot hide the color of their skin; it’s what we see first.
I am angry and scared about the state of our country, yet I also know that we are now opening up dialogues that were once invisible. The propellers of change are revving up and kicking into motion.
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