SUZANNE HARRINGTON: Sperm bank mix up leaves all-white lesbian couple with mixed-race little girl

JENNIFER CRAMBLETT and her partner live in Uniontown, Stark County, Ohio. Farming country. 

Two years ago they had a baby girl called Payton. “We love her,” says Jennifer. “She’s made us the people we are. But I am not going to sit back and let this ever happen to anyone ever again.” Let what happen ever again?

Before we continue, let us remind ourselves of the date. It is 2014, and there is a black president in office in the US. Equal marriage is legal in 33 states.

Now let us return to Uniontown, Ohio. It’s a small place, with a total population of 3,309. There are eight Native Americans, 11 Asians, 24 African Americans, 42 mixed race, and 3,224 whites. Equal marriage is not legal here. Why do we need to know all this?

Jennifer Cramblett and her partner are white. Little Payton is mixed race. There was a mix up at the sperm back — Jennifer and her partner are same sex parents — and last month news broke of the sperm bank being sued for “wrongful birth and breach of warranty”. Wrongful birth? What does that even mean? That the baby birthed through an incorrect aperture? Was born with fins and a tail?

Ms Cramblett and her other half are freaked out at having a baby they deem the wrong colour. Although they describe her as “beautiful” — because of course the oblivious little toddler is totally, utterly beautiful — they are still suing the sperm bank because their daughter is “obviously mixed race”. Well, yes, that’s what happens when you combine black and white genetic material. You get mixed race.

Although she loves her daughter, Cramblett says she “lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty.” Uniontown is “racially intolerant,” plus Cramblett suffers from “limited cultural competency relative to African Americans”. Because African Americans are aliens from outer space?

Coming from an “all white” family just about getting their heads around her being gay — Cramblett said she felt “compelled to repress” her sexual identity around some family members — it turns out “Payton’s differences are irrespressible”.

Meaning she looks black — or at least brown. Cramblett mentions how she has to drive miles to find a hairdresser culturally competent with black hair. Says her lawyer, “Jennifer’s stress and anxiety intensify when she envisions Payton entering an all-white school.” So they thought they would make everything better by bringing a lawsuit.

Oh. My. God.

Where do you even start? Jennifer, you are a lesbian with a mixed race child living in a town that sounds like a right-wing barrell of racist homophobic laughs. You have had to hide your sexuality from your own family, and are scared your innocent little kid will have a horrid time growing up surrounded by latter day bigots. It all sounds like 1950s Alabama. What on earth do you think a lawsuit will achieve?

Move house, love. Pack yourself, your partner and your child into one of those preposterously oversized vehicles and move somewhere proper for your child. Man up, move house.


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