Prolific Danish sperm donor passes genetic disorder to 5 children

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 4:10am


A prolific Danish sperm donor has passed a potentially severe genetic disorder to at least five of his 43 children after a screening test failed to catch that he had the disease, health officials said.

The donor transmitted the tumour-producing nerve disorder neurofibromatosis type I, sometimes known as Von Recklinghausen's disease, said a Copenhagen clinic where he gave sperm, Nordisk Cryobank.

"In the case of these five, we know that the disorder came from the donor," even though the disorder is not always transmitted by a person's parents, said the clinic's director general, Peter Bower.

"Prior to October 2009, this donor has provided sperm to 10 countries inside and outside Europe," Bower said, saying he could not release specifics about where and when the babies were born due to confidentiality rules.

Public broadcaster DR reported that the donor had fathered 43 children at 14 clinics.

Denmark's national health council said because of the cases it would begin limiting the use of sperm from a single donor to 12 pregnancies from October 1 and immediately stop using sperm from donors suspected of having passed on a genetic disorder.