You have probably seen in the news recently, “Black Donor Sperm Mistakenly Sent to White Mom”, about an Ohio Caucasian woman who is suing a sperm bank for mistakenly sending her vials from an African-American donor, when she thought she was being inseminated with a white man’s sperm. This type of error is inexcusable, and can be prevented with good procedures and accurate systems. So how did this happen and what could have been done to prevent it?
The error in this situation occurred when ordering the donor units. The lawsuit says that when Midwest Sperm Bank took her phone order for vials for Donor No. 380, someone in the office misread the handwritten number as 330 and sent that donor’s sperm to the fertility clinic. Here at Seattle Sperm Bank, we have two identifiers for every donor; the donor number, as well as a donor alias (e.g., 9595 Clarke). This double identifier eliminates the chance that the wrong donor could be ordered and/or distributed. Additionally, no orders are placed by hand and client purchasers receive instant email receipt verification with a summary of their order for review.
I also want to note that the receiving clinics and physicians should be a part of this process as well. Every client order is packaged with documentation that identifies both the client and the included sample/donor. Clinics should always confirm this information with their clients prior to performing any procedure.
We pride ourselves on our sample quality and donor sperm options, but more importantly on our commitment to quality control, accurate systems and client satisfaction.