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Genetic disorder passed on by sperm donor

24 September 2001
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 126

A sperm donor may have passed on a genetic disorder to 43 children born as a result of his donation to a London clinic. According to a single report in the Sunday Times, one child is known to be affected. The child's mother underwent artificial insemination at the now-closed Hallam Clinic in London's Harley Street. It is known that she does not carry the gene for the condition, leaving her with the assumption that the condition was inherited from the genetic father.

The genetic disorder, known as Opitz syndrome, is a single gene disorder that can sometimes be fatal. In other cases it causes body malformation and often serious respiratory and digestive problems. The other 42 children fathered by the donor have a 50/50 chance of being affected. The affected boy is now nine years old, and was conceived before rules limiting the number of offspring that one donor could have came into effect.

Records of the donor are thought to be held at Bourn Hall clinic in Cambridgeshire, as one parent company owned both of the clinics at the time. But although the parents of the affected child think that the donor should be traced, donor anonymity is usually protected.

Sperm donor children may have fatal gene
The Sunday Times |  23 September 2001
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