Christin Milloy:

Rise up and seize equality

Prospective Mother Required to Have Unwanted Sex with Queer Sperm Donor by Government Regulations


I recently became aware, through a reader, of a rather disturbing story developing in the Province of Ontario. [EDIT – It is unclear whether the regulations in question are in fact Provincial, as they were described, or Federal, originating with Health Canada. I am currently performing additional research.]

The details are 100% true, however the parties involved have requested that their identities not be revealed, so I’m assigning make-believe names. All quotes are presented as they were relayed to me by the parties.

Two women (we’ll call them “Nerys” and “Jadzia”) are friendly acquaintances who met through a mutual friend. Nerys is a single woman in her early twenties who has chosen to conceive a pregnancy, carry to term, and raise the child alone.

Jadzia is a non-op or pre-op transgender woman who, despite a history of hormone therapy, is apparently still capable of producing viable sperm. Nerys and Jadzia have agreed that Jadzia will act as the sperm donor for Nerys.

For personal and health reasons, Nerys has decided to use a private reproductive clinic to perform the insemination procedure (rather than any “do-it-yourself at home” method).

At their first consultation with the private clinic, they met with the doctor (we’ll call him “Dr. Bashir”). Dr. Bashir asked a series of medical questions of the two women, as expected.

Inappropriate Questions

Dr. Bashir also asked many questions about Jadzia’s relationship with her boyfriend, whom we will call “Worf.” Worf knows about, and supports, Jadzia’s agreement with Nerys, but obviously he was not present at the meeting since he has nothing to do with their reproductive arrangement.

For some reason, Dr. Bashir asked if Worf was aware of, and had consented to, Jadzia’s agreement to donate sperm. Jadzia explained that he was, even though she felt that it was none of the doctor’s business to ask.

Dr. Bashir proceeded to ask many bizarrely specific questions about Jadzia and Worf’s sex life. One of the first questions he asked was “how do you engage in intercourse, since you do not have a constructed vagina?” Jadzia did not want to cause any problems with Dr. Bashir, since he was acting as the gatekeeper to Nerys’s conception, so Jadzia answered all of the doctor’s questions truthfully. She explained that she and Worf engaged in anal intercourse.

The doctor proceeded to ask for even more specific information about the sex between Jadzia and Worf. At the doctor’s request, Jadzia explained that she had been both the penetrative, and receptive, partner in anal sex on various occasions, and that she and Worf did not use condoms since they had both received “clean” test results for sexually transmitted diseases, and since they do not engage in unprotected sex outside of their relationship.

Anti-LGBT Government Sperm Regulation Restricts Personal Reproductive and Private Business Rights

After collecting the information, the doctor informed Nerys and Jadzia that there are “special restrictions” on insemination with donor sperm which apply in their case. The doctor says that due to government regulations in the province of Ontario, any sperm from a donor who is a homosexual man who has sex with other men must be frozen and quarantined for six months, and have extra testing performed on it, at significant financial cost to patients, because of the “increased risk of HIV and AIDS.”

The doctor went on to explain that for the purpose of this regulation, Jadzia is considered to be a homosexual man who has sex with men.

This regulation applies regardless of Jadzia’s gender identity, regardless of Jadzia’s safer sex behaviour, regardless of any history of “clean” test results, and regardless of Nerys’s willingness to proceed anyway. There is no “waiver” form that would allow Nerys to take responsibility for self-determination in her own reproductive choices back from the provincial government in this case.

Of course, there is little the government can do to regulate “home insemination,” the so-called (forgive me) “turkey baster” method. But this is not how Nerys wishes to proceed. Such methods can be difficult, and often unsuccessful. For her conception and pregnancy, Nerys wishes to avail herself of the technology and supervision at the private medical clinic.

Due to this intrusive government regulation, the private clinic is powerless to assist them; the clinic could have their licenses revoked if they do not conform to the anti-gay, anti-trans government requirements restricting the use of the “gay” sperm.

The extra freezing, six months storage, and testing of the sperm is cost-prohibitive for Nerys, and furthermore, waiting a further six months to conceive the child does not fit with Nerys’s desired timeline for starting her family. According to the doctor, there is nothing can be done to bypass this transphobic and homophobic government regulation; nothing can be done to restore to Nerys and Jadzia their rights to make reproductive decisions about their own bodies as they see fit, and still allow Nerys to benefit from the medical technology, support, and supervision at the private clinic in performing the insemination.

Well… almost nothing. “If you have sex together,” Dr. Bashir explained to Nerys and Jadzia, “the regulation does not apply.”

What!?

That’s right. Doctor Bashir explained that there is an exception in the regulation if the sperm donor and the recipient engage in penetrative unprotected vaginal sex.

They can’t just say they’ve had sex; they know, because they asked. “That would be falsification, which is illegal,” Dr. Bashir told them. But if they actually do have sex, inemination at the clinic can proceed without delay.

“The reasoning is,” explained the doctor, “that if you have intercourse, you (Nerys) have already been exposed to any sexually transmitted diseases which you (Jadzia) are carrying.”

So Nerys can’t sign a form to waive the risk, can’t declare her willingness to proceed regardless, and her trust of Jadzia’s safer-sex lifestyle is irrelevant… but if they actually fuck, the government gives them a “pass.”

After the consultation, Bashir performed physical examinations of both Nerys and Jadzia (in separate rooms). Both women were required to be completely nude, their bodies felt for “lumps,” and both women’s genitals were examined and samples taken to test for infection.

After this exam, Jadzia further questioned the doctor about this strange exception to the regulation (Nerys was no longer present). “You will need to think about it, but if you do have sex, we can proceed. You can discuss it with Nerys.”

Now, the two women are privately deciding how best to proceed. But at last report, they remain (as I am) flabbergasted at this completely ridiculous government intrusion on their personal reproductive rights, not to mention the rights of the private medical clinic to conduct business as they see fit.

And of course, how such a blatantly homophobic, transphobic regulation can be imposed by our provincial government in clear violation of the Charter and Human Rights legislation, supported only by flimsy out-dated medical science and the highly discriminatory prejudice about HIV and queer people.

UPDATE: The regulations in question, and their six month quarantine requirement, may in fact apply to all “known donor” situations, and not only to situations involving a gay man or trans woman as it was apparently articulated by the doctor. It may also be that these are Federal, and not Provincial, regulations.

I am currently performing additional legal research on this topic. However, all concerns stand relating to the restrictions this regulation places upon the rights of Nerys and Jadzia, and the bizarre requirement that they have sex as the only acceptable method of avoiding the six month quarantine.

10 Comments

  1. Shen Ramez
    Saturday, 2012.10.20 at 13:25

    I don’t quite see how this is such a catastrophe, the doctor wants to make sure that the baby that is born will be born as healthy as possible, as any chance of AIDS in the pregnancy would be catastrophic for the baby. Waiting an extra six months really should not be that great of an obstacle to overcome if Nerys actually wants the baby. Dr. Bashir is just taking all the necessary precautions at his disposal so as to create a healthy baby.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Saturday, 2012.10.20 at 15:55

      It is based on the fundamentally flawed assumption that gay men, and trans women by association, are more likely to be carriers of HIV. This may once have been statistically true, but is no longer… and furthermore, to enforce this restriction unilaterally without regard to individual circumstances is discrimination, and a violation of individual rights.

  2. Ron MArti
    Saturday, 2012.10.20 at 16:12

    SO why is this published before all the facts are known?

    It is just as likely that the Doctor is perverting regulation so that he may “:cure” Jadiza.

    Articles like this that are filled with supposition instead of are only designed to incite anger where it may not be due, all this dies is hurt the LGBT community when the misplaced anger is gleefully pointed out by those who wish to continue to discriminate.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Saturday, 2012.10.20 at 17:55

      The quickest way to attract the truth is to publish what facts are known.

      Since publishing, I have discovered there are even more restrictions placed by Health Canada on “gay sperm.” In fact, recipients who choose gay donors are required to get “special permission” from the government to use gay sperm. I think it’s deplorable and disgusting.

      Christin

      • Miki
        Sunday, 2012.10.21 at 23:16

        Wouldn’t it be best just to let them do their testing, and get their fears put aside? I understand one being “flabbergasted” at a doctor getting so personal, but that is what doctors are supposed do. As for asking /how/ they had sex, it would be relevant to know as anal sex has higher risk of tearing and infection. Of course trust doesn’t matter when it is putting other lives at risk. Patients lie all the time. It isn’t as if he was asking what positions they choose.

        I think this article made the healthcare system look worse than it actually is. It isn’t only about their personal lives, but the lives of the child to be conceived and the possible sexual partners of that child in the future. That said, the same quarantining and testing should be(and I assume is) done for all people looking to donate sperm. I would hope that even anonymous sperm donations have been tested thoroughly before being put into a woman.

        A things aside, I believe the error performed by this doctor was him informing the patients of the “loophole”. 6 months is not a long time to wait for insemination, and parenthood should not be something done on a whim anyhow. Planning ahead would involve talking to a doctor about the procedure months before hand.

      • Sybil
        Thursday, 2014.06.26 at 23:01

        I don’t see the harm in waiting. ‘J’ may very well be monogamous and free of any disease, antibodies or infection. However, we have ‘W’ in the equation, and that baby’s health and well-being is also dependent upon ‘W’ being 100% monogamous and free of the above-mentioned issues as well. I wouldn’t put the health of my baby at risk of ‘W’s promise to be true. A baby is a lifetime commitment. Six months is a blink in comparison.

  3. Thursday, 2012.10.25 at 16:32

    Hi Christin. as a member of the now dormant Canada Blood Services LGBT Working Group, this story caught my eye. one thing that was never made clear was their definition of “men having sex with men” .. looks like this sperm donation policy comes from the same language. i did some digging and stumbled upon a “Directive” which is a sub appendix of a Regulation, which of course, is a sub appendix of an Act. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/brgtherap/applic-demande/guides/semen-sperme-acces/semen-sperme_directive-eng.php#a2 here it is! so this is clearly a Federal policy. Two issues that clearly come into play are the same issues faced in the blood situation – whether transwomen should be legally classified as men, and whether or not it is discriminatory to label all sexually active men with men, as being imperative for exclusion. i’m thinking a federal human rights complaint would be in order. although Kyle Freeman lost his case in Trial Court re risks associated with sexually active MSM blood donation, i think the transwomen vs man definition issue, should definitely be looked at. especially in light of the fact that Ontario now recognizes legal gender changes without the need to have SRS.

  4. Thursday, 2012.10.25 at 16:39

    another thought would be to seek moving this sperm donation Directive towards the framework of the organ donation laws. while blood donations must go into a general pool, rather than to a specific person; the organ situation deals with person recipient being acquainted with person donor. in the case where the donor has an MSM history, the recipient may sign a waiver and accept the so-called risks. In this case, would it be logical to suggest that a sperm recipient (i.e. surrogate female) could likewise, sign a waiver on the same so-called risks? i think the key difference here (that is probably part of the conservative government’s thinking) is to also consider the best-interests of the unborn (i.e. is it in the best interest of the yet-to-be-born baby to be born via MSM sperm, or to not be born at all). this takes things a step further into the pro-life vs pro-choice concept, and the issue determining whether or not a fetus, embryo, egg, sperm, or even yet-to-be-created sperm, should be recognized as a human! very very interesting case!

  5. Princess Cornhole
    Tuesday, 2016.08.02 at 15:25

    1. When I run into asinine rules like this, I just laugh & lie.

    2. You tried to make this sound like a bad thing, but Jadzia Dax x Kira Nerys is too appealing a pairing for it to really work as planned.

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Monday, 2017.01.23 at 12:32

      Kira x Jadzia shipping (especially in the early seasons) is truly awesome, because it would be as empowered and consent-y as it is completely hot as hell. On the other hand, Jadzia and Worf is a legendary coupling and I honestly wouldn’t trade it. DS9 FTW

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Christin Milloy