Rapper Da Brat and her wife Jesseca “Judy” Dupart are expecting a baby, but the details they shared about their fertility journey started a vigorous online debate.
In the newest season of their reality show, Brat Loves Judythe couple opened up about their desire to match with a Black sperm donor and how the limited options they found affected their decision.
After browsing the database for a few seconds, they realized that maybe the search wouldn’t play out the way they expected.
And then fertility doctor Dr. Obehi Asemota dropped a hard truth.
The couple was rightfully shocked, but Da Brat tried to lighten the mood with a joke about the limited number of Black donor options — which I knew wouldn’t sit well with the internet.
Speaking to The Root about the new season, the couple opened up about why they ultimately decided on a white donor. “Because we didn’t have a lot to choose from, he definitely wasn’t Black,” Da Brat said. “But, I think we did a great job with picking. He’s handsome, he’s tall, and I think he’s going to look beautiful with my wife’s egg.”
Da Brat’s Jiminy Cricket joke, paired with the quotes she gave to The Rootwent viral, and their final decision received a lot of mixed reactions:
Judy responded to the criticism in a series of Instagram videos. In the caption, she broke down her response into seven parts:
On not realizing the make-up of the donor pool:
On finding out she carried genetic risks:
On dealing with a limited timeline:
On her disorders reducing their chances for a Black donor:
On people not being educated about the IVF process:
On media creating a distorted narrative about their decision:
And on their final choice being the best for their future baby:
As a potential Black sperm donor, I agree that Da Brat’s Jiminy Cricket joke was harsh, but it’s not their choice that bothered me. In fact, I don’t believe their right to choose whatever donor they want should ever be questioned. The statistics that helped complicate their decision are upsetting— so I’m going to take some accountability here.
According to an analysis from The Washington Post, “Black sperm donors represent just a fraction of available supply — fewer than 2 percent at the country’s four largest sperm banks.”
And the possible reasons behind the shortage are heartbreaking:
Cryobanks can fail to recruit Black donors because the selection process requires three generations of medical history. Black men statistically didn’t have access to quality health care for generations, making historical medical record gathering more challenging because of racial disparities in America.
Cryobanks also exclude donors with felony convictions, and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system disproportionately affect Black men.
So, instead of criticizing Da Brat and Judy’s fertility journey and their right to choose, I take this as a reminder that many imbalanced and, frankly, racist social forces in America have a pervasive negative effect on Black people — in wealth distribution, healthcare, criminal justice, education and even somewhere you’re not expecting it, like fertility.
The bottom line is there’s more to this story than meets the eye, and it’s worth considering how we got here.