Genetic screening of donors
The medical and genetic histories of all prospective donors are evaluated by the Medical Director at IDANT Laboratories. A prospective donor is not accepted into the program if a condition in his family history poses a risk of producing offspring with a birth defect and/or a genetic disease in the general population. Any prospective donor who is found to be a carrier for a genetic condition for which IDANT screens is not accepted into the donor program.
A carrier is an individual that carries one gene for a particular recessive trait. An individual inherits one copy of each gene from his/her parents. Genes are the blueprints that direct how our bodies grow, develop, and function. A carrier usually does not express the trait but, if two people who are carriers of the same gene for that particular recessive trait have children, there is a twenty-five percent chance, with each conception, that a child will inherit two copies of the same gene and will be affected.
IDANT Laboratories screens donors for the following conditions:
- Canavan disease (Jewish ancestry)
- cystic fibrosis (all current donors since January 2004)
- sickle-cell disease (African American / African ancestry)
- Tay-Sachs disease (Jewish and French-Canadian ancestry)
- thalassemia (all current donors since January 2004)
IDANT can also test donors for certain genetic conditions at the request of clients who know that they are carriers for, or affected by a specific genetic condition. Please contact the semen bank for more information.
IDANT Laboratories can assist you in locating a professional genetic counselor in your area at no additional cost. A genetic counselor can provide you with an in-depth analysis of your medical and family history, as well as the donor's history. In addition, a genetic counselor can offer an accurate risk assessment and genetic testing if needed. The following individuals may benefit from genetic counseling and screening:
- women over the age of thirty-five (35)
- members of a racial or ethnic group that is associated with specific diseases
- members of a family whose history contains any of the following genetic disorders:
- chromosomal abnormalities
- cystic fibrosis
- Down syndrome
- hemophilia or other bleeding disorders
- Huntington's disease
- maternal exposure
- mental retardation
- miscarriages (multiple)
- muscular dystrophy
- neonatal deaths
- neural tube defects
- sickle-cell disease
- stillbirths (unexplained)
- Tay-Sachs disease
- individuals with a medical history or condition associated with the following genetic conditions:
- congenital absence of the vas deferens
- neonatal deaths
- miscarriages (recurring)
Please keep in mind that genetic counseling and screening may help identify couples at risk for certain genetic disorders but not all birth defects. There is no single test that detects the risk of any genetic disease in a couple's offspring. Additionally, birth defects may occur that are not genetically based (e.g., environmental and toxic exposure, or random and unexplained) and may not be detected with genetic screening.