More Canadian families are suing a US sperm bank they allege misled them about the attributes of a donor who was billed to be a genius, but they say turned out to be a convicted felon who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The latest lawsuits were filed in British Columbia by two Vancouver families who conceived children by artificially inseminating the sperm of "Donor 9623" from the Atlanta-based sperm bank Xytex Corp. The lawsuit also targets Genesis Fertility Centre Inc., in Vancouver, according to Postmedia.
In April, three families in Ontario sued Xytex, and the Aurora, Ont. based Outreach Health Services, alleging wrongful birth, failure to investigate and fraud. They claim that the companies advertised and sold the sperm of Donor 9623 even after they were alerted to the fact that his donor profile didn't match who he actually was.
Donor 9623 — who was later revealed to be 39-year-old James Christian Aggeles — is believed to have helped conceive 36 children in Canada, the US, and in the UK. The Ontario families are demanding $15.4-million in damages, according to the Toronto Star.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Related: Lawsuit Alleges Sperm Bank's Genius Donor Was Actually a Schizophrenic Ex-Con
Aggeles' real identity was discovered when Xytex accidentally disclosed his email address to families using his sperm. According to court documents reported on by Postmedia, they then went on to discover that the man who had been billed as having an IQ of 160, with various degrees and working toward a PhD in neuroscience engineering, actually had been diagnosed in 2000 with schizophrenia, narcissistic personality disorder, a drug-induced psychotic disorder and significant grandiose delusions.
He had also been hospitalized for mental health reasons and arrested several times while he was a donor, according to published reports. His IQ was actually 130, and he had only recently graduated with a bachelor's degree.
The lawsuit alleges that Xytex did not properly screen Aggeles.
"Xytex had a commercial motive to sell Aggeles's sperm, and it pursued that motive by promoting and selling the sperm of Donor #9623 irrespective of whether or not he was a suitable sperm donor," the lawsuit says, according to Postmedia.
In one of the Vancouver cases, the couple claimed they turned to Genesis, which gave them the option of receiving sperm from three companies, one of which was Xytex, according to Postmedia. They had their first child in 2008, and their second and third were born in 2011. Another Vancouver woman claims her child was also born with the same donor.
Responding to the Ontario lawsuits in April, Xytex lawyer Ted Lavender told VICE News that the company looked forward to successfully defending itself.
"Pursuing claims in a court of law requires actual evidence and proof," he said. "Making unfounded allegations in the court of public opinion requires no actual proof at all, but merely the word of the very lawyers and litigants who already failed in a court of law."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 have them without this assistance."