A DANISH sperm donor passed a severe genetic disorder to five children after tests did not detect it and the fertilisation clinic failed to act on evidence that a baby had been diagnosed with the illness.
The man, known only as "donor 7042", fathered 43 children, in breach of rules limiting the number to 25, after giving sperm to Copenhagen's Nordisk Cryobank clinic.
The donor transmitted the tumour-producing nerve disorder known as Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1), or Von Recklinghausen's disease.
Parents are considering legal action after it emerged that the sperm bank was told in June 2009 that one of the children born to the donor had been diagnosed with the genetic illness, but had failed to act.
"Our team of physicians and our geneticist looked at the case but didn't consider there to be reason enough to suspect it was the donor," Peter Bower, the clinic's director, reportedly said.
NF1 is a genetic disorder that causes tumours to grow around nerves, with symptoms including high blood pressure, bone deformity, scoliosis, learning difficulties and eye problems.
Anne-Marie Vangsted, the head of the Danish Health and Medicines Authority, has criticised Nordisk Cryobank for failing to withdraw the sperm when it first became aware of the problem.
Karianne Vedin, a Norwegian mother whose child was fathered using the donor's sperm, is considering legal action after being informed by that the donor was carrying a hereditary disease and that their daughter was at risk.
"Luckily she is one of the healthy ones, but I feel very sad for those that have been affected by this," she told the Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK.
"We want to reveal the truth behind the whole system. They are just after the money. It's obvious when you see how many times this donor was used."
Under rules that will come into force from next week, the Danish authorities have limited the use of sperm from a single donor to 12 pregnancies with an immediate ban if any donor is suspected of having passed on a genetic disorder. (© Daily Telegraph, London)