CHICAGO — What started as little white lie took on a life of its own after a local sperm bank adopted predatory lending practices involving donations from black men.
The Midwest Sperm Bank used teaser rates and cash incentives to extract donations from these men, which the bank would then sell to women without properly disclosing the source of the troubled assets.
Jennifer Cramblett, who is white, is suing the company for “economic and non-economic losses” related to having received sperm from a black man, rather than the white man she specified. She cites the emotional pain and suffering caused by bringing up a mixed-race child in an all-white community with “stereotypical attitudes.”
Cramblett’s lawsuit has opened the floodgates for other plaintiffs looking for financial redress in light of the bank’s deceptive practices. The court filings have caused something of a run on the bank, according to analysts.
“We’re facing the worst liquidity crisis since the Great Depression,” said Luke Burbank, an economist at the University of Chicago. The potential blowback is huge. Burbank notes that, during the Depression, birth rates in the U.S. dipped below the replacement rate for the first time.
“Without adequate trust in our sperm banking system, we can kiss the next generation goodbye,” said Burbank.
Midwest Sperm Bank refused comment for this article, much as it hung up on Cramblett after realizing the sperm mix-up. The bank is hoping for a government bailout to cover the refunded purchase price for Cramblett’s sperm and any additional legal costs or settlements that may arise.
“TARP can only absorb so much of this mess,” said Burbank, referring to the Troubled Asset Relief Program designed to stabilize the financial sector.
“So don’t hold your breath,” he added, suggesting that, instead, consumers practice patterned paced breathing and see that more people like Elizabeth Warren are elected to office.