Skip to comments.Sperm Donor Seen as Source of Disease in 5 Children
Posted on 05/19/2006 6:51:12 PM PDT by neverdem
A sperm donor in Michigan passed a rare and serious genetic disease to five children born to four couples, doctors are reporting today.
The doctor who discovered the cases said that all four couples were clients of the same sperm bank. That bank, the doctor added, assured him that it had discarded its remaining samples from the man and had told him he could no longer be a donor.
It is not known how many children the donor had fathered, whether he knew he carried the disease before he donated sperm, or whether the bank had informed him of his condition after learning about it. The doctor declined to name the sperm bank.
A report on the cases is being published today in The Journal of Pediatrics.
An expert in genetics and reproductive medicine who is not associated with the report, Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson at the Baylor College of Medicine, said that sperm donors are routinely tested for most common genetic diseases, like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, but not for extremely rare ones like severe congenital neutropenia, the one afflicting the Michigan children.
Children with the disease lack a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil, according to the doctor who discovered the cases, Dr. Lawrence A. Boxer, the director of pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of Michigan, and an author of the report. As a result, the children are highly vulnerable to infections and prone to leukemia.
Without treatment, many die in childhood. But daily shots of a drug called Neupogen can help them make the missing cells and fight off infections. It does not ward off leukemia, though. The drug costs $200 a day, but, Dr. Boxer said, many get it free as part of a study.
"The kids are doing terrific,"...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
gonadal m. mosaicism that results from mosaicism within the gonad so that some of the germ cells are mutants. More than one offspring of a gonadal mosaic for a dominant trait may show the trait although it is not manifested in the parent.
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