Who’s the daddy? US sperm banks must be better regulated – New Scientist


Who’s the daddy? US sperm banks must be better regulated

by Alison Motluk, New Scientist
August 9th, 2007

CAREFUL, exacting, high-tech – that’s the image US sperm banks like to project to their customers. They run limited genetic tests on their donors and trace medical records back three generations. They also screen for chemical exposure, drug use and even do complex psychological profiling.

Equally interesting is what sperm banks don’t do – and are not required to do by law. They don’t verify that all the medical or personal information that donors give them is correct. They don’t routinely test for the majority of known genetic diseases. They do not confirm that the sperm the woman requested is the sperm that ends up in her body. And they don’t always know where to find donors or recipient families should a concern crop up.

Now a small, not-for-profit company is beginning to fill in these gaps. In doing so, it threatens to expose just how common errors in the American fertility industry might be, and how little oversight exists to stop these problems from happening or to deal with them if they do occur.

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