Is There a Link between Sperm Banks & Birth Defects?

The Doctors look into some of the many recent lawsuits filed against sperm banks claiming important donor information was not disclosed.

The suits against the banks claim in certain instances that donor’s criminal background, education and possible history of mental illness were not properly vetted and go on to claim that this has led to birth defects in some cases.

Attorney Areva Martin and trial lawyer Nancy Hersh, who is representing some of the clients suing the alleged negligent sperm banks, join The Doctors to discuss this serious issue. The lawyers note that requirements for sperm donors vary from state to state and from clinic to clinic.

Watch: Father to 12,000?

Nancy says the best thing sperm banks can do to help filter out potential bad donors is to include a background check, which will note any arrests, and thoroughly check their education background to make sure the donor meets the college and IQ requirements.

But do these women who feel as though they have been duped by the sperm donors and banks have remorse about their children?

“My mothers love their children, they don’t want to give their children back, they would never want to give their children back. They want accountability and support from the sperm banks,” Nancy says, explaining that some of her clients claim their children’s autism is the result of the donor – something The Doctors take issue with. The panel goes on to assert that the causes of many illnesses have yet to be determined and it’s very difficult to pinpoint if the mother, the father or some other possible environmental element is responsible.

Watch: Risks of Natural Sperm Donor

Areva advocates for national standards for sperm banks in order to set the proper guidelines for donor screening. She also notes that these lawsuits could go on to help improve the screening process used by banks.

The Doctors encourage families with children from donors to connect with other families who have used the same donor on The Donor Sibling Registry, where information about the donor and his offspring can he shared.