The Canadian distributor of a U.S. based sperm bank is being sued by at least three families from Ontario, Canada, as their perfect sperm donor turns out to be a schizophrenic and convicted felon.
The families claim that the Georgia-based Xytex Corporation and its Canadian partner Outreach Health services willfully misled them into believing that Donor 9623 was a "perfect" donor — healthy, popular, and highly educated.
In a statement filed in Ontario, the families claim that the donor was in fact a diagnosed schizophrenic with narcissistic personality disorder, a convicted burglar, and did not attain any of the degrees claimed in his file. They allege that the sperm bank knew of the information and chose not to disclose it to any of the families.
Lawyer James Fireman who represents the families said that the sperm bank misrepresented the donor to the families — even claiming that the donor has an IQ level of a genius. The lawsuits claim that the donor could have fathered about 36 children.
"The claims allege Xytex continued to sell the sperm even after it knew the truth about the donor's health, his education, and his criminal past," said Fireman.
The lawyer representing Xytex, Ted Lavender, commented that the company will defend itself from the lawsuits, citing that one of the families filed a similar case in the U.S., which was dismissed by the Georgia court.
Lavender said what the families claim are mere public opinions and that these claims have no actual proof and evidence presented in court.
"Xytex is an industry leader and 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," defended Lavender.
Kevin M. O'Brien, Xytex president, posted an open letter on the company website and disputed the claims in the lawsuit.
"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," the letter said. "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."
Its Canadian distributor, Outreach Health Services has yet to comment on the allegations.
The families filed the lawsuit after donor, James Christian Aggeles, admitted that he lied about his illness, criminal record, and education. Aggeles said that no one in Xytex questioned him when he filled out the questionnaire that he is working on a PhD in neuroscience engineering.
The document filed in court questioned why no one in Xytex tried to verify the information provided by Aggeles but instead promoted Aggeles or Donor #i9623 as a perfect donor with extreme intelligence.
"The Xytex Corporation has admitted no wrongdoing, it has done absolutely nothing to warn affected parents that schizophrenia may develop in their children," the document stated.
The issue on having "designer babies" from "perfect" donors has become a topic. Health officials want to make sure that sperm banks would follow a guided practice of eugenics.
London Sperm Bank has come under fire in 2014 when it refused Oxford graduate Fred Fisher due to his dyslexia. The United Kingdom's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said that Fisher should have not been refused, as dyslexia is not a genetic disease. However, they ruled that sperm banks should inform their prospective parents of the medical history of donors to help them make an informed decision.
Photo: Karen Blaha | Flickr