Online Sperm Donor Matching Service is ‘Risky Practice’
In an effort to make artificial insemination "as natura[l] as possible," Jacqueline Beaudoin of Ontario, Canada, last year began an Internet mailing list to "match" men who want to donate their sperm with women seeking donors, USA Today reports. Although men are not "doing it for the money," as they are not compensated for their donation beyond reimbursement for their expenses, USA Today suggests that the practice "raises a number of medical and legal questions." While sperm banks screen donors for diseases transmitted by semen -- many follow CDC guidelines recommending freezing semen for six months for an HIV retest -- the Web site cannot offer the same protections. Further, the mailing list does not comply with laws in several states that require HIV screening of donors and physician supervision during donor insemination. "It does not surprise me to learn that people are using the Internet as a way to identify donors," Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the center for HIV, STDs and tuberculosis prevention at the CDC, said. However, he added, "That is a risky practice. That's essentially like having sex with somebody you don't know anything about." Beaudoin acknowledged the risks involved, saying that "her desperation for a child has led her to depend on prayer, rather than science, to protect her." BeaudoinThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.