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Sperm Donor System Under Scrutiny After Donor Fathers 150 Children

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 09/06/11 02:55 PM ET Updated: 11/06/11 05:12 AM ET

Concerns are being raised about the lack of regulation of sperm donors in the United States, after one anonymous man was found to have fathered 150 children under the current system.

The New York Times reports on the case of Cynthia Daily, who used a sperm donor to conceive a child seven years ago.

Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son's group grow... Today there are 150 children.

Such profligate procreation can lead to problems for the children born of donors. Children who were born from the same sperm donor could unknowingly become involved in an incestous relationship with someone that they did not know was a half-sibling.

CBS News' Health Pop reports that the risk of incest is not the only problem:

The revelations also raise fears that children from the same donor could share disease-causing genes that can spread through the population.

While many European countries have rules in place that limits the number of children a single donor can father, no such rules exist in the United States. Business Insider quotes Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College:

"We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm."

Jezebel says that the motivation behind allowing donors to father so many children comes down to profit, as sperm banks can make a lot of money selling the sperm of an attractive donor to many women.

The International Business Times sums it up by saying:

The issue seems to be one of perceived quality, not quantity. In sperm, as in life, some specimens are simply more attractive than others.