Here is a serious problem created by technology. Many couples who otherwise might be childless now have the joy of children, thanks to today's technology. However, that joy might also bring occasional problems. Genealogists may have a role in notifying people of life-threatening genetic illnesses.
Rebecca Blackwell and her 18-year-old son Tyler of Maryland tracked down sperm donor ‘John’ three years ago. The supposedly anonymous man was Tyler's biological father. While the sperm donor didn't respond to their letter for contact, his sister found them online via Ancestry.com and, unaware her brother had donated sperm, asked why they wanted to get in touch. When she found out he had a son, she told them of the fatal genetic disorder that had ruptured the sperm donor's aorta at the age of 43.
The medical condition was clearly inherited. The sperm donor's father, who didn't die from the aortic dissection, suffered a stroke due to a lack of oxygen to the brain. Another family member of the sperm donor has a family condition of the connective tissue disorder Marfan's Syndrome.
Tyler had a time bomb ticking in his chest.
This sperm donor reportedly has 24 children, all of whom either have medical inherited problems themselves or may pass on those problems to their children.
There are no rules or regulations about donor identification, testing donors, monitoring numbers of children or medical records. Should monitoring and notifications be required? In some case, such information can save the lives of people who would otherwise have no warning of serious medical problems.
You can read more in an article in the Daily Mail Online at http://goo.gl/T6Zxo.
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