A potentially fatal genetic heart condition was passed from a U.S. sperm donor to nine of his 24 offspring, one of whom died of heart failure at age 2, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The report also said that two of the children, now teenagers, have developed symptoms and are at risk for sudden cardiac death. The man had no symptoms of genetic heart disease and no obvious family history when he donated his sperm, the Associated Press reported.
The case -- the second documented instance of a sperm donor passing a genetic condition to his offspring -- illustrates the need to thoroughly screen sperm donors, said the authors of the report and an accompanying editorial.
The San Francisco sperm bank involved in this case now requires all donors to undergo electrocardiogram tests to detect those with genetic heart problems. The study authors said all other sperm banks should do the same, the AP reported.