Worried that the sperm you got at the bank might not be up to snuff?
A company called GenePeeks says plans to offer a screening service within the next several months that would spot potential genetic problems.
While it's possible to sequence a genome and see if a donor has any genetic disorders, that doesn't always reveal whether or not a woman would produce a child carrying that disease. GenePeeks instead will look at the 250,000 bases in a genome, and then simulate the mixing and matching that would happen when the sperm fertilizes the egg. GenePeeks will use DNA microarrays, a technology that allows scientists to look at many genes in parallel.
Top 5 Scariest Bioweapons: Photos Since the analysis will see thousands of virtual genotypes, it's possible to pick up on the less-obvious combinations that cause disease. Ordinarily sperm donors are tested for disorders such as cystic fibrosis. But there are many others that only cause symptoms when both parents carry certain genetic mutations, and, even then, disease doesn't always occur.