Guide Sperm Donors with Hearts

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Voluntary sperm bank guidelines say donors should be required to provide a complete medical history to rule out those with infectious diseases or a family history of inherited diseases. Many also do testing but for genetic diseases that are less common than the heart problem, according to co-author Dr. Barry Maron of the Minneapolis Heart Institute, a leading authority on the condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy thickens the heart and makes it harder to pump blood. It affects about one in people; many more likely have the genetic defect without symptoms, said study co-author Heidi Rehm of Harvard Medical School.

Sperm donor passed on deadly heart defect - Health - Heart health | NBC News

Symptoms can include an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath, but many cases go undetected until sudden death. The condition is often the culprit when young athletes collapse and die suddenly.

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Treatment includes medication and an implanted defibrillator to prevent sudden death. Neither the sperm bank nor the donor were identified.

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The donor, now 42, had no symptoms of genetic heart disease and no obvious family history when he donated sperm in the early s. His own condition wasn't diagnosed until after a child born through sperm donation was diagnosed. Maron declined to provide more details on the donor's health, citing privacy concerns. The children are now ages seven to Nine, including one born to the donor's own wife, tested positive for the heart mutation.

One born through sperm donation died; two others have developed symptoms, with one getting a defibrillator.

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Some have connected with donor offspring, some have not. All of the donors interviewed talked about their belief in the right of donor-conceived people to know about their biological heritage.

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More complex issues are also discussed, including the way in which the passing of time can change how donors feel about their sperm donation and the subsequent creation of donor offspring. For anyone who is in a position to watch the program — live or on ABC iView — it will be well worth your time. Legislation about right to information about donor. Why tellng is important.