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Ga. Sperm Bank: We Can’t Verify Donors’ Medical Histories

A Canadian couple says Xytex Corp misled them about their sperm donor's background.

Sperm banks can’t guarantee donors’ medical histories.

A Georgia-based company says a lawsuit against it should be dismissed on those grounds. The couple suing says they were misled about their sperm donor’s mental health.

In court filings, Xytex Corp says it followed industry standards and disclosed that any donor’s medical history cannot be verified for accuracy.

A Canadian couple has sued the Augusta-based sperm bank, saying employees recommended a donor who faked his education, claiming he was working on a Ph.D. in neuroscience. He has a criminal record, and the lawsuit says he may have schizophrenia.

Sperm banks are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It requires strict testing for infectious diseases. Mental health screening is recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, but it is not mandatory.

“That’s a very big gray area,” said Jessica Spencer, director of the Emory reproductive center.  “Because other than a psychiatric evaluation and looking through medical records and personally interviewing the donor, it’s very hard to make every diagnosis.”

She says prospective parents need to be aware of the limitations of the sperm donation process.

The plaintiffs’ 7-year-old son is healthy, according to the couple’s lawyer. They worry about his future mental health needs. 

The parents want a medical fund established for the three dozen other children their son’s donor has fathered.