Anonymous Sperm Donation and Consanguinity Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jean-Louis Serre
EA 2493 ‘Pathologie Cellulaire and Génétique, de la Conception à la Naissance’, Université de Versailles, Saint Quentin en Yvelines, France
SFGH (Société Française de Génétique Humaine), Villejuif, France
and
Jean-Pierre Siffroi
Commission de Génétique, Fédération Française des CECOS,
UMR S933 INSERM/Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris, France

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answers:

  • Anonymous sperm donation may lead to unions between relatives, especially between half-siblings and to an increase of both consanguinity and the frequencies of recessive diseases. We made an evaluation of the actual consequences of anonymous sperm donation in France and we concluded that they can be considered as negligible when compared to those due to false paternities, four times higher.
  • The risk of inadvertent unions between half-sibs is often advocated and we showed that it may be estimated to as few as one case every 10 years. Consequently, the main level of consanguinity in the French population is not modified and unions between first cousins within the sub-population from Mediterranean origin remain the main source of consanguinity.


MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answers:

  • The marginal consequences of anonymous sperm donation on unions between relatives and on consanguinity were expected. However, its precise estimation is useful for the debate initiated in several European countries about the access to gamete donor identity.
  • The actual effect of false paternities versus anonymous sperm donation was quite unexpected.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answers:

  • According to the legal rules in France, AID (in a medical context, limited to an offspring of ten per donor) has no major consequences on public health.
  • All the estimations and calculations reported in this article are useful for refuting the assertion that AID increases the risk of inadvertent unions between relatives and the level of consanguinity.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answers:

  • If sperm donation evolves in the future, either towards a limitation of the offspring or, more probably, towards non-medical indications, one would reconsider calculations in order to define a new strategy for CECOS which could maintain this marginal effect of anonymous sperm donation.
  • For example, one way to limit the risk of inadvertent unions and consanguinity is to decrease the number of sperm donation centres, allowing them to work in large populations or geographic areas.
  • Moreover, children born after AID should be aware of their mode of conception in order to ask for genetic tests when adults if they want to exclude any inadvertent union with a relative.

Citation:

 Does anonymous sperm donation increase the risk for unions between
  relatives and the incidence of autosomal recessive diseases due to
  consanguinity?
Serre JL, Leutenegger AL, Bernheim A, Fellous M, Rouen A, Siffroi JP.

Hum Reprod. 2013 Dec 16. [Epub ahead of print]