Seventeen British sperm donors have fathered more than five hundred children between them

Publié le 30 May, 2018

Five hundred children fathered by just seventeen men[1]—these new figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) highlight a significant risk of incest and gene defects. In fact, siblings could meet and form relationships without realising that they are related. If the father passes on a hereditary risk of cancer, for instance, the risks to the child are even greater. For example, “In 2013, it was discovered that Danish sperm donor Henrik Koch may have unknowingly passed on a cancer-causing illness to 50 percent of the children created using his sperm”.


Although donated sperm is currently screened in Britain for some diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington’s and cystic fibrosis, associations are calling for much wider screening programmes: “We urge the regulators to take action and include hereditary cancer gene mutation screening in the process of sperm and egg donation”.


However Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield, said bringing in further screening for donors could leave Britain facing a shortage:  “There isn’t such a thing as the perfect donor,” he said, “Everyone has a defective something”.


[1] Between 1991 and 2015:

  • 17 men each fathered at least 30 babies.
  • 104 men each fathered between 20 and 29 babies.
  • 1,557 men fathered between 10 and 19 babies.
  • Over 6,000 men each fathered up to 9 babies.

Daily Mail, Miles Dilworth (07/05/2018)

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