Genes in His Jeans

2016-11-16-2

              If you are a fan of the television show Friends, you probably remember how Monica and Chandler had trouble conceiving a baby, and were considering sperm donation. They wanted someone healthy, smart, and attractive to be their donor, so Chandler brought home someone from work who he thought fit their genetic requirements. Chandler hoped he would be willing to donate his sperm to them, so that they would know exactly who the father was. It has been 12 years since this episode of friends aired, and couples today still have the same concerns about sperm donors’ genes.

              Any women trying to conceive a child, through any contraception method, obviously want their baby to be as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, with sperm donation, that is not always a guarantee. The sperm donors are only tested for a handful of certain diseases, and asked about family history. There is no way to know for certain if they are carriers for other diseases, which could be expressed in the child. The other concern with sperm donation is how many children are conceived with the same sperm donor. There have been instances where sperm donors claim to be the father of 800 children, as seen in this tweet and its link.

              This podcast shares a story about a girl who was conceived through sperm donation, and how the only thing she knew about her biological father was that he was a first-year medical student at Baylor University. She continues to talk about how she contacted the sperm bank to get medical information about him, but they told her that they had destroyed his record years ago. This story brings up another concern with sperm donation, which is that the sperm banks do not give the receiving couple enough information about the donors.

              You are probably asking yourself why would any couple choose sperm donation, when it has so much uncertainty? And to be completely honest, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will not use sperm donation, unless more information is given to me about the donor. Ideally, this information would be the results of a genetic sequence of the sperm donor’s genes. This may sound intense and demanding, but the benefits of genetically testing sperm donors would decrease the uncertainty of sperm donation and create more healthy babies.

              The benefits of genetically testing sperm donations are infinite, but can be narrowed down to four: carrier status, ancestry, wellness, and traits. If this information was given to mothers before they chose their donor, they would not have any uncertainty about the traits or diseases of the father, so their baby will be likely healthier. Requiring genetic testing will also help sperm banks regulate their donors, which will then provide mothers with only healthy sperm to choose from.

              The genes in his jeans should be genetically tested, in order to create healthier babies through sperm donation. If you would like to hear more about sperm banks and some of the guidelines that  need to be changed, please watch the video below.

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