FDA

FDA now regulating free online sperm donation

Friday, February 10, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: sperm donation, FDA, regulation

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(NaturalNews) The burgeoning world of online social media has now tapped the fertility market, with free sperm donation websites that match willing donors with infertile couples quickly growing in popularity. But according to a recent report by ABC News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve of this non-traditional method of sperm exchange, which just so happens to bypass the expensive, and often ineffective, formalities the agency has established to maintain control over reproductive services.

Logistically, it is far less cumbersome for a couple in need to avoid going through a cryobank and simply browse the personal ads for a potential sperm donor. And since donors at websites like www.knowndonorregistry.com offer their sperm for free, couples in need can avoid spending thousands of dollars to comply with the FDA's requirements for having sperm formally tested for diseases through the agency's prescribed regulatory methods.

To be sure, free sperm donation websites do include detailed profiles of registered donors, including things like sexually-transmitted disease (STD) test results, dietary and lifestyle habits, and even other personal information that facilitates users' ability to get to know each other in an organic and unique way. And many successful recipients swear by the open source-type system that champions freedom of choice in reproductive matters.

FDA considers it illegal to donate sperm outside its regulatory structure

But the FDA disagrees, claiming that such websites and online portals illegally bypass federal regulations for sperm donations. According to Title 21, Chapter I, Subchapter L, Part 1271, Subpart C, Sec. 1271.45 of the FDA's Code of Federal Regulations, sperm donor eligibility requirements include undergoing formal screening and testing as part of the agency's "current good tissue practice," (CGTP) which typically costs many thousands of dollars.

Tony Dokoupil, a senior reporter at Newsweek who recently covered this issue, explains that the FDA's requirements include having to get a "battery of STD tests (that are) more than a thousand dollars per attempt." These requirements, which admittedly do help to prevent the rapid spread of disease by bad donors, also bar many potential good donors from donating because it is simply too expensive for them to comply.

At the same time, websites like www.knowndonorregistry.com allow donors to post their own relevant health data and medical records for potential recipients to consider before making a donor selection. While there is more risk involved with this method, users are given the freedom of choice to weigh the options and make the decision for themselves, which many of them believe is crucial.

"It's not up to the government to determine who the father to our child ... should be," said Krista, whose last name was voluntarily withheld, to ABC News. Krista has used such sperm donation services herself. "If someone has the right to go to a bar in the evening and wind up having sexual intercourse, why is it they can do that and I can't choose to have this person be the biological contributor to my child?"

Sources for this article include:

http://abcnews.go.com

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov

http://www.slate.com

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