Childless Indian couples demand to know 'caste' of sperm donors
A gynaecologist who runs a sperm bank in Frozen Cell, in Patna, Bihar says that ten percent of his clients demand to know the caste of the sperm donor.
Another gynaecologist in Delhi says that clients not only ask about the caste of the donor but also the religion, IQ and physical appearance..
One of the Bihar's leading gynecologists told a local newspaper the demand from couples to know the caste of sperm donors was insistent. "Name, address and contact details are kept anonymous, but people are insistent, almost fanatical about caste. We can't give it to them on paper, but we find we have to tell them," said Dr Saurav Kumar, who owns the sperm bank, Frozen Cell, in Patna, Bihar.
He later denied his firm disclosed donors' caste status, but told The Daily Telegraph that ten per cent of his clients demanded to know.
One leading Delhi gynaecologist, who asked not to be named, said the practice was common in India, especially in poor states like Bihar. "People are asking about caste, and also about religion. We try to match caste, religion, IQ, and physical appearance.
"If someone is a dark south Indian, and the donor is north Indian, the baby will not look the same. Maybe they [the clients] don't know, but it's our duty. I match the castes, but patients are innocent," he said.
Caste is of importance in India and those who are viewed as a lower caste are not allowed to mix with people of a higher caste. There have been cases of boys being killed for having a crush on an upper caste girl, and women thrashed for drawing water from wells reserved for upper castes.
One Dalit father was attacked and lost his arms and legs because he would not drop a complaint over the gang-rape of his daughter by upper castes.
Violence against lower castes, whose presence is regarded as "dirty", remains common in India, particularly in rural areas where there have been cases of boys being killed for having a crush on an upper caste girl, and women thrashed for drawing water from wells reserved for upper castes.
In one particularly brutal case, a dalit man was beaten so badly he lost his arms and legs because he would not drop a complaint over the gang-rape of his daughter by upper castes.