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Neither the sperm bank nor the donor were identified. The donor, now 42, had no symptoms of genetic heart disease and no obvious family history when he donated sperm in the early 1990s. His own condition wasn't diagnosed until after a child born through sperm donation was diagnosed. Maron declined to provide more details on the donor's health, citing privacy concerns.
The children are now ages 7 to 16. Nine, including one born to the donor's own wife, tested positive for the heart mutation. One born through sperm donation died; two others have developed symptoms, with one getting a defibrillator. The remaining children are at increased risk for problems, which often don't show up until adolescence, Maron said.
The only other documented case of a disease inherited through sperm donation involved a rare blood disease.
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