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Children at risk after sperm donor develops late onset genetic disease

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7338.631 (Published 16 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:631
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    A Dutch hospital has informed parents of 18 children conceived through artificial insemination that the children have a 50% chance of developing autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, inherited from affected donor sperm.

    The hospital had wrestled for three years with the information, knowing that the particular subtype of the disorder can be neither identified in a carrier before symptoms appear nor properly treated.

    The issue has sparked a debate over the right of children and parents to be informed in such cases and the screening of donors' gametes.

    The man carrying the hereditary disorder had donated sperm …

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