A sperm donor’s transmission of a genetic condition has prompted Danish authorities to tighten regulations on donors. One Danish man is thought to have passed on Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) – a rare genetic trait that can cause epilepsy as well as skin and nervous system problems – to more than 40 children in 10 different countries.
Officials from the Nordisk Cryobank clinic said that it was aware that five babies conceived with the man’s sperm had been confirmed as having NF1.
Peter Bower, the clinic’s director, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the inseminations occurred before 2008 in both European and non-European countries, although he added that he could not provide further details due confidentiality agreements.
In response to the controversy, the Copenhagen-based clinic has said that donors’ sperm will now only be used in a maximum of 12 inseminations. Previous rules limited donors to 25 inseminations each, and the clinic has yet to comment on how the man’s sperm was used in 43 cases.
Meanwhile, the oganisation’s officials continue to face criticism over the ordeal. Anne-Marie Vangsted, who heads Denmark’s Health and Medicines Authority, said that Nordisk Cryobank did not move to withdraw the sperm after the issue came to light.
Likewise, one unnamed mother of an affected child told reporters that she was “shaken and shocked” by the news.