A sperm donor, known only as Donor no. 9623, was passed off as a healthy, well-educated man to hopeful parents. This, however, was not the case at all. Donor 9623 was instead a very troubled individual who had been diagnosed with multiple mental illness. In addition, the said donor had a felony conviction.
— Theresa Boyle (@theresaboyle) April 15, 2016
This very donor’s sperm is believed to have been used for the conception of at least 36 children in Canada, the United States, and Britain. Upon learning the truth of the sperm’s origin, three Canadian families have initiated lawsuits against the sperm bank in the U.S., Xytex, as well as against its distributor, an Ontarian organization, Outreach Health.
Information about the controversial donor was brought to light accidentally when Xytex included the donor’s email address in an email to the families back in 2014. An immediate Google search by the family members brought unknown details to the forefront that were outright shocking.
PRI reveals the discoveries made, in detail.
“They discovered that Donor 9623 was James Christian Aggeles of Georgia. He was diagnosed as having schizophrenia, narcissistic personality disorder, drug-induced psychotic disorder and significant grandiose delusions. Aggeles committed a residential burglary in 2005 and spent eight months in jail. He dropped out of college and just last year graduated with a bachelor’s degree.”
The families had, however, been informed that Donor 9623 has a high IQ of 160, as well as an undergraduate degree in neuroscience with a master’s degree in artificial intelligence while hoping to still achieve a PhD in neuroscience engineering.
The lawsuit alleges that Xytex and Health Outreach continued to sell the donor’s sperm, even following the disclosure of the man’s true state. One of the family members who is involved in the suit spoke up on her and her partner’s behalf, as well as on the behalf of the donor. CBC shares the words of Angie Collins, who gave birth to her son eight years ago by way of the sperm donated by donor 9623.
“It was like a lead ball went to the bottom of our stomach, for both my partner and I. We know nobody’s perfect, but we didn’t sign up to choose knowingly that our donor had schizophrenia.”
— Christellar (@christellar) April 14, 2016
As for her views on the donor and his role in the deception that was involved, Collins demonstrated full understanding and forgiveness.
“My heart goes out to him. This can’t be easy to deal with. [It was a] poor choice, though, to knowingly donate sperm when you contain genetic material for debilitating illnesses, but he wasn’t healthy at the time that he was making these decisions.”
The sperm was donated in the United States, where donors are paid for their sperm. As the publication notes, in Canada, this is not the case.
“In the US, sperm donors are paid for their services. But in Canada, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act — passed in 2004 — makes it illegal to pay donors.”
President for Xytex responded to the suit in an open letter. Kevin M. O’Brien posted his letter on his company website and within the written defense, he states that his company is not guilty of misrepresenting the donor.
“In this case, the donor underwent a standard medical exam and provided extensive personal and health information. He reported a good health history and stated in his application that he had no physical or medical impairments. This information was passed on to the couple, who were clearly informed the representations were reported by the donor and were not verified by Xytex.”
Families who have joined in filing the suit are seeking $12 million in damages.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]