This workshop featured Camille Gear Rich, USC Gould Law, with commentary by Richard McAdams, University of Chicago Law School.

Partial Introduction

The day eventually came when Jennifer Cramblett, like many other American women, lovingly looked at her partner and decided, it was time to “start a family. ”Cramblett, however, like many other prospective mothers, faced certain biological challenges that threatened to thwart her desire to reproduce. Luckily Cramblett, as an economically-privileged prospective mother, discovered that the market would provide what Mother Nature would otherwise deprive — the genetic material and the means necessary for her to produce biologically-related progeny. Her salvation was the Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ART”) marketplace, a space where she could purchase sperm or eggs, or even rent a womb if necessary to achieve her goal. Cramblett’s ultimate choice — to purchase genetic material from a sperm donor, would have been an unremarkable, standard ART transaction, but for a small administrative error that had major racial implications. Although Cramblett requested and purchased sperm from Donor 80, a blond blue eyed white male, the clerk handling the transaction misheard her request and sent her sperm from Donor 330, a brown haired, brown eyed Black male. The clerk’s mistake erupted into a commercial controversy, a family controversy and a racial controversy all in one. For Cramblett, as a member of a monoracial blond, white lesbian couple, had contracted for the chance to form a white nuclear family. While she ultimately opted to give birth to the mixed race baby now actively growing in her womb, Cramblett also filed suit for the clerk’s “racial mistake,” for she effectively had been denied the “benefit” of her bargain in the ART transaction.