London’s biggest sperm bank is under fire after a gay couple’s second child was born a different race than they expected. The sperm bank in London allegedly mixed up sperm donations for the gay couple’s second child. The London Sunday Times reported that the couple wanted to use the same sperm donor so that their two children would be genetically related.
The couple didn’t know their second child was conceived from a wrong sperm donor until the child was born and appeared to be a visibly different race than their first child. The clinic is now being investigated by the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority which emphasizes keeping the anonymity of the family a priority.
Mistakes at Sperm Banks
Similar sperm bank mistakes have been made at IVF clinics before. In 2002, a UK couple’s twins were born different races after an Asian man’s sperm was accidently used to fertilize the eggs. Although the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that sperm banks only allow 25 children per donor per 800,000 people, some sperm banks have made big mistakes. Parents have been told by sperm banks their children would have around a low number of siblings, only to find out there are over one hundred children who share the same father. Additionally, The New York Times has reported that some parents have children from a sperm donor who has genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis that hadn’t been detected in screening.
What is a Sperm Bank?
A sperm bank, also called a cryobank, stores human sperm from donors in order to provide a way of reproduction for those wanting to have a baby but are unable to conceive naturally. About 58,000 babies are born each year by IVF (in vitro fertilization) which is just about one percent of all births in the United States. However, nobody really knows how many of those babies are born by using a sperm donor from sperm banks. The industry is private and while the FDA loosely regulates to control disease transmission, sperm banks are private and widely unregulated. Accreditation by the American Association of Tissue Banks is optional. Additionally, almost all sperm banks keep their donors anonymous, but sometimes the sperm donor allows the banks to release his information to their biological children once they turn 18.
Choose a Sperm Bank Carefully
If you’re considering using a sperm bank to conceive, make sure you choose a sperm bank carefully to avoid the mistakes sperm banks can make. Do a lot of research on the process and follow these guidelines.
- Make sure you know the bank’s offspring limits
- Learn how the bank tracks outcomes and sucess rate
- Know the screening process the donors go through
- Choose what type of open-identity policy you want
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