Mixed babies for sale: JHR Story Shuts Down Unethical Business

BabyWhen an ad popped up on Facebook offering to facilitate the birth of “half-caste babies,” JHR-trained journalist Betty Kankam-Boadu knew there was a story.

 

“Half-caste World” was a new business in Accra, Ghana. It advertised that couples could conceive bi-racial babies at the cost of $3,000 U.S. using international sperm donors. The business’ Facebook page advertised sperm donors from many nationalities including the U.K. and the U.S. And the business’ mission? To develop “a better Africa that starts with the simple but bold decision of giving birth to a mixed race baby through artificial means of conception.”

 

Accompanied by JHR Trainer Carolyn Thompson, Betty, a journalist at CitiFM, set off to meet the man behind the business. The pair met a young Ghanaian man in a small, dank room that was Half-caste World’s headquarters.  The man said he was a business graduate from a university in Morocco and he decided mixed-race children were the solution to Ghana – and Africa’s – slow development. The man offered no clear reason for his belief, and simply said that more bi-racial babies in Ghanaian families would “change everything for the better.” The man had no credentials in reproductive health or medicine. Despite his lack of experience in the field, he said he already had ten clients – families and single women in Ghana – wanting to have a mixed race baby.

 

To get more context, Betty and Carolyn interviewed a Ghanaian doctor who specializes in fertility treatments. He explained that because Ghana has weak regulations on reproductive health, Half-caste World was a legal – but very unethical – business. The doctor was pushing for government to define reproductive health rights so that women and their bodies are protected from businesses that prey on people desperate for a child. As the JHR-duo was finishing up their investigation, Betty got a call from the owner of Half-caste World. He pleaded with her not to air the story. He said he was no longer running the business and did not want any trouble. Instead of killing the story, the editors at Citi FM decided Betty’s report raised important issues about lack of regulations and protection of women’s rights, and had to be aired.

 

As a direct result of Betty’s hard-hitting investigation, Half-caste World – a business with dubious motives that could have exploited people desperate for a child – shut down. Its website was taken down and the social media ads were deleted. And the story renewed public conversation about Ghana’s the lack of reproductive health regulations for all women.

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