The Los Angeles Times reports a disturbing story coming from San Diego. It involves an egg donor who carries a rare genetic mutation that can lead to an early death of her offspring. This particular neurological disease usually kills its victims before age 5.
According to the Times, a child can develop the disease only if both parents carry the genetic mutation. In this case, the donor did not know she was a carrier until she was contacted by the fertility agency that matched her with the parents. Before discovering her genetic link to the disease, she donated to at least four infertile couples.
In the U.S., nothing ensures that recipients of donated eggs or sperm are warned about defects that may be later discovered in the donor’s genetics.
Sixteen years ago, the U.K. government created a registry for egg and sperm donors. Names, contact information and detailed personal histories are kept. Donors and recipients have access to the registry, as do children once they turn 18. The system helps families stay current with genetic information that may be discovered – and relevant – at any time.
Photo: Los Angeles Times