ATLANTA (ABC NEWS) – A couple is suing an Atlanta sperm bank after they say their sperm donor turned out to have schizophrenia and a criminal record.
Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson of Port Hope, Canada, filed a lawsuit against Atlanta-based Xytex Corporation this week, alleging that they were misled about the identity of their sperm donor, who was described as a doctoral student in engineering.
The women allege in that lawsuit that they were originally told that their donor was healthy, had an IQ of 160 and was working on a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience engineering. The couple claim in the suit that Xytex offered a lengthy vetting process of donors.
Xytex did not respond to ABC News’ calls and emails seeking comment.
After Collins successfully gave birth to a son in 2007 using the sperm provided from Xytex, the couple say they kept in touch with people from Xytex as their son grew up. However, in 2014, the couple said they were alarmed to get a series of emails from the company that breached the confidentiality of their donor.
After the company revealed the donor’s name, the couple “discovered for the first time that defendants representations had been false,” according to the lawsuit.
The couple got in touch with other families who used the same donor to have children, and together made a series of alarming discoveries about the alleged donor, James Christian Aggeles, named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit. Their research revealed that Aggeles was diagnosed with schizophrenia, had dropped out of college and was arrested for burglary, according to the lawsuit, which noted that the information was taken in part from the Facebook pages of Aggeles and his parents, in addition to YouTube.
Aggeles is suspecting of having fathered 36 children through donated sperm, according to the lawsuit.
Online court records found by ABC News confirm that Aggeles was indicted for burglary in 2005. Aggeles went to jail for 8 months before receiving a 10-year probation, records show, but was able to get the criminal record cleared under a “first offender” law, the office of the Superior Court told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal.
The couple also alleges in the lawsuit that a large mole was removed from Aggele’s photo by the Xytex Corporation.
Nancy Hersh, the couple’s San Francisco-based lawyer, said Hanson and Collins were debating whether to speak to the press. Hersh said she is working with 15 clients who used Aggeles as a donor. Between them they have 22 children, she said.
Calls from ABC News to Aggeles’ listed number were not immediately returned.
The couple is suing Xytex on multiple counts, including fraud and negligent misrepresentation to pay for damages. The couple is also asking for money to set up a medical monitoring fund so that they can monitor their son for signs of schizophrenia.