Friday, December 09, 2005

More Info on (3) Contact at Point of Purchase with the Sperm Banks re Donor Information

Some of this was addressed in my earliest posts back in August 2005. The following is the third part of an email interview I participated in with a journalist friend Mikki Morrissette (note I have removed the actual names of the sperm banks):

3. What kinds of conversations did the clinic or bank have with you (if any) about issues beyond simply the process of conceiving....such as donor identity/anonymity, openness about origins with the child, half-siblings in geographic area, reporting successful pregnancy so a donor can be retired at a particular limit?

Simply put we had no conversations with the clinic or the bank regarding issues beyond the process of conception. We were seeing a psychotherapist regarding the effects of the whole process and my own infertility upon our marriage. The therapist recommended a few DI related book titles but to be honest I don’t recall our discussing the issues in detail regarding post birth. We touched on the disclosure / openness issues but to be honest the sessions were focused first on our pain. Also I think we were even at that point pretty sure we planned to tell the children as the books were clear that issues would fester if we did not tell.

Added for this post re Donor Medical Information:

An issue recurring on the DSR_Discussion group right now involves holding the sperm banks accountable regarding known or unknown medical issues of the donor. I will not go into great detail here but the gist involves what responsibilities do or should the sperm banks have to test the donors during their pre-screening processes. And if the sperm bank claims the donor has been screened and tested negative for a potential hereditary disease that could be passed along to the conceived child what recourse is available if the child does eventually test positive for that disease.

In our own donor's case based on the medical profile we purchased the donor was tested for the following diseases as part of the screening process and found not to be a carrier of any of them: Cystic Fibrosis, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Disorder, BRCA -1( breast and ovarian cancer), Tay Sachs, Gaucher, Canavan, and Thalassemia.

I will admit here that we did not question at that time how these tests were administered or the assays involved in their determination that the donor was not a carrier of any of them. We did take comfort and assurance of this info as the medical profile / questionairre was supposedly completed by the donor and his statements were that he was tested during the screening process and found to not be a carrier of any of those diseases listed here. Our assurance was further bolstered by the fact the donor himself had medical training.

Looking back our not asking how these tests were administered etc. was naive and I encourage all individuals to ask for more information. Thinking back on the process I don't even recall what form of documentation existed (i.e. contract etc.) that would have had language addressing legal recourse for any related issues (granted since it would have been the sperm bank's document it would have protected them).

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