Answer from: Becky Kearns
It all depends on the clinic but all donors go through an intense selection process where they are screened for certain genetic conditions, they are asked about family history and all of that is checked before they are allowed to donate. So there is a level of security there so you know that those things have been checked. One of the things that I have found since going down the donor route is that there may be questions that come up as your child grows up that you don’t know how to answer and I think it’s worth being able to anticipate these. Often with my children I’ve been asked about their medical history, which has been an issue and I think it’s worth being aware that those are situations where you will have to disclose one half of the medical history isn’t there. That being said I have been aware through my own experience that it is possible to ask the clinic to contact the donor if you have a specific question. So from our own experience, one of our daughters had an issue with her eyes, quite early on when she was young and we were asked if that ran in the family at all. It didn’t run in the family of my husband’s side so we contacted the clinic, contacted the donor and his family.
A lot of this is based on trust so the donors will sign up quite often on the basis that they will share any changes to their medical history with the clinics. However in reality how often people actually do that, it is very difficult to know and to police, so there is an element of having a missing piece there in terms of medical history, but there are things in place and it’s worth asking those questions at the clinic, how long do you keep the donors details for and their data, for us it was thirty years and is it possible in the circumstance of a medical reason to get more information. Hopefully in those circumstances the clinic will support this. But definitely think about that and it’s a good question to ask your clinic about, what screening has taken place and what information are you able to get retrospectively if that’s needed.
What is importance of checking the donor medical history?
Medical history is part of routine questions for donors. How detailed it is and to which generation it reaches? What else can we know about a donor’s medical conditions?