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Beware of 'Gray Market' Sperm Donors

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a blog by Michelle Ottey, PhD, Director of Operations, Fairfax Cryobank and Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc., March 3, 2011

We all have choices to make about building our families. Some choose to have children, and some choose to be wonderful aunts and uncles or mentors. If you want to build your family and have a biological child using donor sperm, I urge you to do your research on sperm donation and understand that there are significant risks if you work with what is being called a “gray market donor.”

Many men feel comfortable donating sperm through the system of accredited cryobanks. They follow the rules and allow sperm banks to do the required testing that protects the recipient. They can be directed donors who are known to the recipient, or they can participate in a donor program as an anonymous donor or as an ID donor who will allow offspring the opportunity for contact when they reach the age of 18.

There are also men who want to donate sperm, but for whatever reason do not feel that they have to follow the laws and regulations that govern how sperm is safely made available to those who want it. These men market themselves online through various sites. Oftentimes they do not undergo any infectious disease testing, and they almost never have any genetic testing. This lack of testing puts the recipient in danger of contracting an infectious disease and any resulting fetus at risk for infectious and genetic diseases.

The regulations and laws are in place to protect recipients. And ultimately anyone who is looking into the option of donor sperm should appreciate how working within this system of rules serves to promote their well being and health.

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