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Each year, around 60,000 babies are conceived through some form of artificial insemination using donor sperm and The Doctors examine donor deception.
There have been countless cases of donors lying about health history, identity, and even cases of fertility doctors using their own sperm to unknowing inseminate unsuspecting women -- this is largely occurring because much of the industry is unregulated. But can this system be fixed to ensure parents-to-be know who their donor truly is?
We meet Danielle who used a donor to get pregnant and says her son began to show signs of autism at 14 months old and was diagnosed with it at 2-and-half years old. Her second son, who was conceived using the same donor, also has autism. She says she later discovered her donor was not honest about his medical history and suffered from developmental delays, did not speak until after the age of 3, and attended a special needs high school.
"My kids struggle every day," Danielle tells us, adding she believed the sperm bank would protect her. "I trusted the sperm bank... I blame the sperm bank."
Danielle explains after discovering how her donor allegedly lied about his past, she contacted the sperm bank to have his samples removed and she says the bank did not do anything about it. Danielle goes on to say -- that to her knowledge --- there are 13 children with either diagnosed autism or developmental delays that have resulted from this donor.
Lawyer Molly McCafferty says there are not uniform federal regulations regarding sperm banks and the rules can vary from state to state. In many instances, the banks themselves end up self-policing and some banks do not verify the information the donors provide.
Molly explains despite thinking of a baby from a donor as a product, she feels it is -- in fact -- a product and a commercialized industry that needs to be regulated. She notes a recent ruling is allowing one family to purse consumer fraud charges against a sperm back they claim lied to them about the identity of their donor
For more information visit the Donor Sibling Registry, which strives to "educate, connect, and support donor families."