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Sperm Donor Passes Along Heart Condition

by Lilian Kim,  ABC News,  Oct 20, 2009
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A San Francisco sperm bank unknowingly passed on a deadly birth defect. One child has already died and two dozen others could be at risk. All were conceived using the donation of a local man who carries the gene for a dangerous heart condition.

When a Francisco sperm bank received multiple donations from the same man, little did they know he had a genetic heart problem. Not until the children were born did they figure it out.

The donor, was in his 20s when he donated his sperm from 1990 to 1991. Since then, he is known to have produced 24 offspring, 22 from his sperm donations and two with his wife. Of the 24, 9 have tested positive for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition that thickens the heart and makes it harder to pump blood.

He had no idea he had a heart condition. Nothing. He was perfectly healthy," says Dr. Schiller, M.D., from UCSF's department of cardiology.
Dr. Schiller now recommends that sperm banks require sperm donors to undergo an EKG. The simple and inexpensive test can detect most hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cases. He also says sperm banks should limit the number of donations it receives from individuals. Read more.


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