No reason for a reduction in the number of offspring per sperm donor because of possible transmission of autosomal dominant diseases
Author: Janssens, Pim M.W.
Source: Human Reproduction, Volume 18, Number 4, April 2003 , pp. 669-671(3)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:A limit of 25 offspring per sperm donor has been imposed in The Netherlands since 1992, in order to prevent children from donors having a greater risk of consanguineous relationships than would occur in random individuals. An incident with a donor who developed a serious hereditary brain disease raised the question whether the limit of 25 should be reduced. Here I consider this suggestion from a genetic, psychological and legal standpoint. There appears to be no valid population genetics argument for limiting the number of donor offspring to below the figure that would prevent an increased chance of inbreeding. Reduction of the number of children per donor theoretically only results in transmission of greater diversity to donor offspring. Moreover, as within the general population, the total number of children conceived from sperm donors is negligible, the impact of donor offspring on the population genetics is anyhow insignificant. From a psychological standpoint, it should be noted that individuals making use of a donor, or their offspring, have no knowledge of other offspring conceived with their particular donor. This implies that the number of offspring per donor is of no relevance to them (provided of course there is an acceptably low chance of inbreeding). The new Dutch law on disclosure of donor identity to donor‐insemination children, also produces no compelling reasons for a general reduction in the number of offspring per donor. Reduction desired by individual donors can be obtained by means of mutual agreements between sperm banks and donors. In conclusion neither the possible transmission of late‐onset autosomal dominant diseases, nor other considerations necessitate a reduction in the offspring limit calculated to prevent increased risks of inbreeding among donor offspring.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2003-04-01
- Human Reproduction features full-length, peer-reviewed papers reporting original research, clinical case histories, as well as opinions and debates on topical issues. Papers published cover the scientific and medical aspects of reproductive physiology and pathology, endocrinology, andrology, gonad function, gametogenesis, fertilization, embryo development, implantation, pregnancy, genetics, genetic diagnosis, oncology, infectious disease, surgery, contraception, infertility treatment, psychology, ethics and social issues. The highest scientific and editorial standard is maintained throughout the journal along with a rapid rate of publication.