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Family Longevity and Cause of Death
Donors do provide age and/or age of death information for their entire direct family back through grandparents so that you can consider their longevity and ultimate cause of death. (Unfortunately, everyone has to have one.) In general, you want to avoid donors that may have family histories of having some health ailment (especially at an early age) that also runs in your family as well. Some of this information requires a bit of interpretation. Having a donor that has someone in the family that shows a cause of death to be cancer is not necessarily worse or better than a donors family that does not. If the family member has cancer at an advanced age as opposed to someone that has the same problem in midlife or an early age, well those situations are not of equal concern. One should have life expectancy data for each generation to better evaluate that information. The following information was taken from the US National Vital Statistics System.
In general this data shows that women outlive men and that each successive generation has had a higher life expectancy than the previous one. If a donors maternal grandmother was born in the 1920 to 1940 date range and she died at age 55, she would have died earlier than was the expected average for a woman, but if she died of any cause at an age above 60.9 years she would have outlived the average of her similar generation females. If a donors grandfather died of a heart attack at 65 and didn't have a history of heart disease, then he really died of old age related heart failure, and does not indicate that the family has a history of heart problems.
Most clients find this information to be at least part of the consideration, if not the most important part in selecting a donor to use whether the client is trying to match a spouse or not. Ethnic background, basic body build, (height & weight), eye and hair color are readily accessible and useful. The donor listing has a search function to quickly access only those donors that meet a clients certain basic criteria in these aspects. It can be very useful to know some basic genetics when selecting a donor based on eye and hair color.
Certain pigmentations are either dominant or recessive, and only by looking back through the donors family history can one get more of a feel for what characteristics may be obtained through the use of a donor. A donor with brown hair could be carrying a recessive gene(carrier) for blond hair that could be expressed as blond hair in a child if the mother was also a carrier. A donor with brown eyes (dominant) could father a child with blue eyes if he were heterozygous.
The height of the donor and his parents and/or siblings can give one a general expectation of family growth patterns, but once again you can't count on a child growing to 6'6" just because the donor was. You can reasonably assume that the probability of the donor child growing to a comparable height is higher than the odds of him being of shorter stature than the average.
Demand for shorter donors is much less than it is for taller donors. In general, taller is seen as a desirable trait. As a result of this, most donor banks lean more towards recruiting what the customers want, which is taller donors.
Donor weight can be important or less so just like any physical parameter. We do not recruit donors that have an obvious morbid obesity problem or appear extremely obese for their build. With young men there can be a real difference in body build due to muscle mass differences and vary from being pretty thin to muscle man. The general population in the US is heavier now than ever before, so we do accept men carrying a bit of extra body weight if they are otherwise healthy, pass the donor physical, and don't show a major weight problem throughout their family and family history that would indicate a genetically linked weight problem. .
Blood Type Consideration of the donors blood type can be of high importance or of almost no importance. Please follow this link to additional information on blood type.