Thursday, May 10, 2007 USA Limits Donor Offspring to 10 ?

no. 370

Re: Serious Failures Found at [Israeli] Hospital Sperm Banks

Dear Ran Reznick:
In your article, published online 5/10/2007, regarding serious failures at Israeli sperm banks you state that "In the United States, donors are limited to 10 births to decrease the chance of incest among offspring. "
I'd like to know where you got that "fact". I know of no regulation or law that requires sperm banks to monitor live births much less pregnancies achieved. As a parent to two donor conceived children here in the USA we would love to see reform that would limit the donor conceived offspring born to a single donor but as of yet we have no legislation.
Thank you,
Eric Schwartzman


I sent the above inquiry today to the reporter who wrote the article linked above. I would have posted my inquiry as a comment to the article but no option was provided.

Did I sleep through some major legislative pacakge here in the United States? I will give the reporter the benefit of the doubt but I don't believe we have any such legislation either at the federal or state level in the United States. But if anyone reading this knows on what basis the reporter got this info I'd love to hear it.


Gil said...

Eric, I know of no "regulation" or "law" per se (as in, I can't lead to you one or quote one), but I do know this: When my husband and I were going to choose a donor, we were told by both our RE AND the sperm bank that the reason that some donors may be taken off the market is because they have reached their limit of live births. We were told exactly what this author writes about, that the reason they do that is to limit the possibility of siblings forming incestuous relationships later in life. That each donor is permitted to have a limit of live births after which time their samples are no longer available to the general public. However, that sperm WOULD still be available to someone who had already had a live birth as a result of using that same donor. By doing this, parents could have full siblings for their donor-conceived child. Now, if we could find that regulation, all the better. But yes, this is what I was told as well.

DI_Dad said...

Hey Gil -

Here in the US if anyone has been told there is a limit it I am betting that it was a rule made up by the clinic or doctor themselves.

If I recall you are in Canada. Whether the recent legislation in Canada defined a limit I cannot say but I can not even see how it woudl be enforced as many people after getting pregnant go to a different doctor. Unless the law puts the burden on the families to report back to the origianl clinic / RE I cannot understand how it woudl be enforceable and I could not imagine a penalty on an individual for not reporting.

I still have not heard back from the reporter.

Regards, Eric

Laura said...

I only know the UK situation where the maximum is 10 families. The sperm could be used to the same family for more than one child. A donor will always have the right to limit the use to less than 10 but this is typically only used in known-donor cases.

Gil said...

You're right Eric. I am in Canada. But I know that here, when you use the donor sperm, it is the RE's responsibility to report back to the sperm bank when a live birth occurs as a product of that donor sperm. Now, given that we're getting our donor sperm from the USA, I made the assumption that this was a fairly standard practice in North America. However, I could be completely out in left field on that. I'll be interested to see what the reporter comes back to you with. But I do believe some checks and balances are in place to ensure that no sperm donor produces more than 10 children unless they are full siblings (i.e., as I mentioned, donor sperm used by the same family to produce additional children as full siblings to the first donor-conceived child).

DI_Dad said...

I fully can understand a sperm bank making allowances when a family wants full siblings. But at times this will add up.

A quick review of the DSR for Fairfax Cryobank yielded at least 8 donors with an average of just over 18 offspring spread over an average of just over 12 families. For one donor the reported offspring was 30 births spread over 23 families. That is a lot of kids.


Ryan said...

Fairfax... That name keeps coming up. The doctor that made me claims he may have gotten my gametes from there. Odd.