A sperm donor who fathered at least 36 children is accused of lying about his criminal and mental health history, according to a lawsuit filed by three Canadian families who had children conceived with his sperm.
On paper, Donor 9623 seemed like a perfect candidate to father a child. He was reportedly handsome and healthy, with several degrees and a genius-level IQ.
According to the lawsuit, however, the man continued to donate sperm for 14 years until it was revealed through a Google search conducted by the families that he was in reality a schizophrenic college dropout with a felony conviction.
The Georgia-based sperm bank, Xytex Cryo International, is named in the civil lawsuit filed in Ontario, Canada. The families are claiming the company should have been more diligent in vetting its sperm donors.
— CNN (@CNN) April 19, 2016
Angela Collins and Elizabeth Hanson, who live near Ontario, joined in the lawsuit after they learned of the alleged fraud. In 2006, they had a child — a son born in 2007 — fathered by the sperm donor.
In the lawsuit, Collins said she specifically asked Xytex how well donors were vetted and was allegedly told the vetting is so thorough she would “ultimately know more about her Xytex sperm donor than she could ever find out about a potential donor she met in everyday life,” according to CNN.
Collins and Hanson decided on Donor 9623 after being impressed with his Xytex profile, which boasted of his IQ of 160, multiple degrees in neuroscience, and a clean health history.
Several years later, the couple inadvertently learned the identity of the sperm donor after Xytex mistakenly disclosed the donor’s identity through an email.
Curiosity about their child’s biological father led the families to do a quick search on their own, and it was quick indeed. All it took was a Google search to reveal that the donor was a convicted felon and college dropout, who was diagnosed as having schizophrenia in 2002, the lawsuit alleges.
The families became even more infuriated when they allegedly learned that the donor remained on Xytex’ database despite the discovery.
This is the second lawsuit filed against Xytex by Collins. A Georgia judge dismissed a case last year but noted that the laws are outdated when it comes to alternative reproductive issues.
— HerFamily (@HerFamilydotie) April 19, 2016
Nancy Hersh, a San Francisco-based lawyer who is representing Collins and the other families, told The New York Times the case will hopefully bring attention to the need to properly vet sperm donors.
“This is a huge problem. Lots of people will avail themselves of sperm banks, and it is important that the public will be educated about the risks. It is a public health issue.”
According to Hersh, a dozen other American, Canadian, and British families were planning lawsuits related to Donor 9623. The 15 families she represents have conceived 23 children using the donor’s sperm, all with “a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia, which nobody knew at the time they purchased his sperm.”
Attorney James Fireman filed the lawsuit on behalf of the three families last week in the Ontario Superior Court, asking for $15 million in damages from Xytex and its subsidiaries.
“The fundamental core of this case is the fact that each of these families have children exposed to a much higher risk of serious and psychological disorders. There are prevention protocols that obviously cost money. We are asking for monetary damages to set up a fund for the childrens’ future medical costs.”
In a statement, Xytex maintained that it complies “with all industry standards in how they safely and carefully help provide the gift of children to families who are otherwise unable to have them without this assistance.”
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