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Choosing an Egg or Sperm Donor: Medical and Genetic Considerations

Highlights from January 18, 2012 Creating a Family radio show

What questions should you ask about a possible egg or sperm donors medical history?  What type of genetic testing is reasonable to expect?  How can you lessen the risk of genetic diseases?  Our guests to talk about these issues are Dr. Harvey Stern and Dr. Dan Shapiro. Dr. Stern is the Director of Genetics and the Fetal Diagnostic Center at the Genetics & IVF Institute and is Medical Director of Fairfax Cryobank and of GIVF’s Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) program. Dan Shapiro is the medical director of Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta and one of the founders of MyEggBank, the nation's largest frozen donor egg bank.

  • What conditions, disorders, or diseases are genetic?
  • What diseases or disorders can be prevented by screening egg or sperm donors?
  • What is the difference between recessive, dominant, and X linked diseases and how does this impact selection of egg or sperm donors?
  • What genetic conditions or chromosomal abnormalities are routinely screened for in gamete donors (egg donor and sperm donor)?
  • Are there additional diseases that can be screened for?
  • How can you be careful when selecting a sperm or egg donor without going overboard?
  • How can recessive carriers of Cystic Fibrosis make sure that the donor is also not a carrier?
  • Are PKU, Werner’s Syndrome, sickle cell anemia fragile X, hemophilia, spinal atrophy routinely screened for?
  • Is it possible to screen the sperm or the egg before fertilization?
  • If you screen the donor do you need to screen the embryos?
  • PGS preimplantation genetic screening
  • PGD preimplantation genetic diagnosis
  • Does using frozen eggs alter the genetic or chromosomal screening?
  • What do are the most common genetic diseases?
  • We hear about both genetic disorders and chromosomal disorders. What is the difference?
  • How do we screen egg or sperm donors for genetic diseases?
  • How do we screen egg or sperm donors for chromosomal disorders?
  • DNA chip testing.
  • How do these screenings play out when using donor gametes?
  • How reliable are medical histories from egg or sperm donors given that they are so young?
  • PGD vs. PGS?
  • Polar body biopsy?
  • CVS chronic villi sampling
  • Do you need to consider Cytomegalovirus (CMV) exposure when choosing a donor?
  • What are the options for genetic testing during pregnancy?
  • How safe is genetic testing during pregnancy?
  • Is it best to use a sperm or egg donor with your blood type?
  • Is it possible to select only female (Y) sperm in order to avoid an X linked genetic disorder?

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Creating a Family and in particular your radio show has been a lifeline to me over the past 2+ years. In the privacy of my home/car I have been connected with others whose family-building has been challenged and I have had access to invaluable information from experts that have helped us make better decisions. Thank you! ~ S. Potter

Creating a Family was such a great resource for me throughout the adoption, I remember even blogging about it the first time I discovered the radio show because I was so excited! I continue to benefit from your the shows even now, one year post adoption. Thank you for the good and important work you are doing. ~ A. Oliver

I just wanted to say thank you so much for this resource, I just recently found it and I just happened to stumble upon it doing a google search.  It has been hugely helpful!!!! We've been looking into foster care and adoption and listening to the various radio shows relating to those topics have really helped us know what to do and what to expect..more  ~J. Joy

I just wanted to stop in and say a quick thank you for all the support and information you provide the adoption/infertility community... I also am a "research junkie", and your blogs & podcasts have been an invaluable source for us on our journey to grow our family. more ~ E. Meyer

I wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful things you do. We brought our beautiful baby boy home from the hospital on April 2nd. While we waited for an adoption match and then waited for his birth, your podcast and website were a continuous reminder that we were part of an amazing adoption community. It really helped us not feel alone.  ~Sarah S.

I listen to your radio shows daily on my iPod while cleaning, exercising, driving etc. I've learned so much from it, that today in the foster- adopt support group I felt like an all knowing expert, despite the fact, that I have zero experience in the field. Thank you for a wonderful resource! I am spreading the word. ~G. Longley

Thank you so much for your radio show! I was just listening to it, and it's very informative. My husband and I are in the process of adoption, so we read a lot to be able to make informed decisions. Your website is a great resource for us! ~N.M.W.

“I learned more from this show than from two Reproductive Endocrinologist and all my own research. I appreciate the professionals you have on your show.” ~ L. Upton

I LOVE your show, it's the most helpful, unbiased information I’ve found about infertility and adoption and I'm so thankful for you and your organization. Keep up the fantastic work, you are changing lives. ~ Amanda

So I would like to introduce to you....Z. V.. She is now 11 weeks old. She came from a lovely perfect little frozen embryo, from our 4th round of IVF (2 fresh cycles and 2 FET)...more  ~A. Houston

I'm just writing to say that I've downloaded another bunch of your podcasts onto my iPhone and while I listen to them on my daily commute I silently
thank you for doing such a good job and conducting such brilliant interviews!!!...
more   ~G. Marino

Although you don't know us from Adam, I wanted to drop a line and thank you for the amazing info, sound advice, and encouragement you offer to adoptive and prospective adoptive parents.  We just received our pre-approval for our daughter, W, from China!  You (in book, website, blog, and podcast form) have been there every step of the way in this journey.  ~ J. & C. Morningstar

I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I love your show. I recently got an iPhone and have been listening to them on iTunes. Your "What Adopted Teens Want Their Parents to Know" session was amazing!!!          ~A. Watson

My husband and I are parents through adoption to THE three most incredible children in the world. All via newborn domestic transracial.  I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from your web site.  I often refer potential adoptive parents who ask me for advice to your site. I especially enjoy your radio shows and today’s show on "Knowing When to Move from Infertility to Adoption" particularly resonated with me. ~N. Ferrari

I have loved, loved this radio show. It has been hands down the most helpful resource on this often painful and confusing journey. ~ R. Butler

I have been listening to lots of your radio shows of late. Great guests and very enlightening always. Thanks so much for keeping us up with the latest.  ~ W. & M. Welch

I just wanted you to know what a tremendous resource and blessing your podcasts have been to my wife and I as we prepare to travel early next month to pick up our new 17 month old son from Colombia...more
~ M. & L. Oakes


I just wanted to share my story since Creating a Family pod casts were so helpful to me when I was infertile. It really helped knowing I wasn't alone and could get the most updated information on my condition. I am almost 32 years old and I have been trying to get pregnant for 6 long years...more ~ J. Mendenhall

 

You are the REAL DEAL—Thank you for your guidance, radio show, information, knowledge, resources, care & wisdom to know what is needed when.     ~ S. Miller 

We are awaiting the arrival of our child from Ethiopia. I recently took a road trip and downloaded 9 hours of the Creating a Family podcasts and listened to them all. I learned so much. Thanks.        ~J. Madine 

Just home from adopting our son in Colombia. He and we are doing great. Your site and especially podcasts were a tremendous resource to us personally, as well as for a reason we didn't ever expect...more  

~ M. and L. Oakes

 

 

 

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