Sharine and Brian K. of Yukon, Oklahoma tried to get pregnant naturally
for years with no success. Frustrated and unhopeful, they turned to a
number of alternative treatments. When nothing worked, they began considering
working with a sperm donor. Sharine and Brian meticulously researched
a viable donor, and after a year, the couple thought that they landed
on their match. The donor was a family man, with similar faith as the
couple, and had his sperm stored the New England Cryogenic Center in Boston.
The laboratory’s website explicitly stated that all donors had been
screened and tested for genetic diseases. Sharine and her husband were
hesitant, but decided to move forward.
Sharine became pregnant after receiving sperm from the donor, and in April
2010 she gave birth to a son, Jaxon. But when Jaxon failed to have a bowel
movement in 24 hours, doctors feared that something was wrong. When a
toxicity built up in his body, Jaxon was rushed into surgery. After investigations,
the doctors returned with terrible news– Jaxon had cystic fibrosis.
Naturally, Sharine and Brian were devastated and shocked. The website explicitly
stated that the sperm samples are thoroughly tested for diseases, which
would include cystic fibrosis. Sharine later learned that she was a carrier
for CF, but was appalled to learn that the donor’s sample came up
positive as well.
Trying to Move Forward
Jaxon’s parents fear that they will not be the only family that suffers
from this. They have filed a lawsuit against the laboratory that provided
the sperm. However, a spokesperson from the company claimed that other
families had no complications from the same sperm.
Now Jaxon’s parents wonder about his future, and how many other families
will be victims of similar situations. At this time, the FDA does not
mandate that samples get tested for genetic diseases, only infectious
ones. There are groups that are currently lobbying to change this regulation.