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Embracing Diversity

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a blog by Michelle Ottey, PhD, Director of Operations, Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc., September 29, 2010

I attended the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) conference as an exhibitor last week. It was a wonderful experience where I met some incredible people. As an exhibitor I was obviously there to get our name out and to talk about the services we offer at our cryobank, but many attendees also spoke with me about their personal experiences.

It is always gratifying to hear success stories and to have people tell you they are pregnant now having used one of our donors. Attending GLMA also shines a light on how very important it is acknowledge the different needs of our diverse clientele.

It is one thing for a cryobank to say it is friendly; it is another to ensure that all staff has been trained in sensitivity and openness to diversity. Historically, sperm banks have been a place for heterosexual couples dealing with infertility to find donor sperm to build their family. Over time there has been a shift, and we find that along with those couples we are now working with LGBT families and single women as well. Each group has unique needs and is equally valued as clients.

No one should feel apprehensive about discussing their personal story with a client services representative for fear of a negative reaction. No one should feel the need to leave out information about their experience for fear of an off-putting response.

Reproductive rights are universal. Everyone has the right to build a family, and that includes how they choose to do so be it through adoption, surrogacy, donor egg or donor sperm.

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