Breeder Reaction

Does everybody have the right to have a baby? And who should pay when nature alone doesn’t work?

  1. Guadalupe Benitez and her partner, Joanne Clark, had been buying frozen sperm at a bank in Los Angeles and trying to get pregnant at home for two years when Benitez finally sought out the services of a fertility specialist. Not at all uncommon—infertility affects more than 6 million Americans, and about 20 percent of them seek help through assisted reproductive technology, or ART. At that point, 1999, Benitez was 27 years old, Clark was 40 years old, and the couple had been together for eight years, since Benitez emigrated from Culiacán, Mexico. Benitez, a medical assistant, had some infertility benefits at a nearby OB/GYN clinic, the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group. There, Dr. Christine Brody put Benitez on a hormonal drug called Clomid, to treat her polycystic ovarian syndrome, and also told her that she was willing to oversee her treatment but not to perform inseminations because, as a Christian, she disapproved of lesbians having children.

    "When she said that,” Benitez told me, “I was so upset, but she made it better by saying the other doctors would do it for us.” Benitez and Clark tried home inseminations for a few more months, and Brody even did some exploratory surgery. But when the time came to schedule a more effective in utero insemination—a procedure that involves injecting sperm directly into the uterus—an assistant from North Coast Women’s Care called to inform Benitez that no one in the practice would do the procedure, nor would they refill her prescrip...

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