On paper, sperm donor 9623 looked like perfect father material: he had good looks, no health issues to speak of, the IQ of Albert Einstein and a degree in neuroscience. When not dropping into the sperm bank in Georgia, he was working on a PhD.
This glowing profile apparently persuaded 26 families in North America and Britain to use his sperm to conceive 36 children.
Then, after an administrative error, parents learnt his actual identity. Chris Aggeles, 39, had a criminal record and court documents suggested psychiatric illness. He had served time for burglary and his sporadic work history included stints at a steak house and a pizza place.
Now, led by a Canadian mother whose six-year-old son was conceived using his donated sperm, a series of lawsuits are expected to be filed in Canada and the US.
Angie Collins, from Ontario, filed a suit last year accusing the sperm bank and Mr Aggeles of misrepresenting his qualifications and qualities.
In June 2014 she received six emails from the sperm bank, Xytex, which appear to have mistakenly named Mr Aggeles. According to her lawsuit, she and other mothers quickly discovered that “Aggeles was schizophrenic, which is genetic and hereditary, thereby risking all of said donor’s offspring”.
Mr Aggeles had “dropped out of college and held no degrees whatsoever . . . [he] had been arrested for burglary and was an ex-felon.” Ms Collins also found an online post in which he appeared to discuss what it was like to suffer from schizophrenia and to hear voices.
Ms Collins argued that she and her partner would have to set up a fund to evaluate their son and provide for him should he develop schizophrenia.
Her lawsuit was dismissed in October by a judge in Georgia who said the state law did not allow for “wrongful birth claims”. However, the judge said that there ought to be a way for Ms Collins and her partner to pursue a claim.
In an interview with the Toronto Star this week, Ms Collins said she planned to file a new lawsuit in Toronto. Other families are expected to join the action. Xytex has said that it will contest them.
Mr Aggeles does now appear to have earned a degree in cognitive science, according to the Toronto Star. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Source: The Australian