Lots of couples and individuals seek sperm donation to fulfill their parenting dreams. And, in 2015, you’d think that there would be minimal or non-existent room for error in such a quest, right? I mean, in this digital age we live in, how difficult could it be to keep track of someone’s baby juice? Probably about as not difficult as it should be to keep the truth straight when it comes to the background of a sperm donor. We’re not living in the Don Draper era here, where a guy’s entire life story can be complete fodder. We live in the Google era, where finding out essential information about anyone is just a paranoid click away.
…Unfortunately this was not the case for Angela Collins and Elizabeth Hanson, who thought they chose a highly reputable sperm bank based in Atlanta to supply the sauce they needed to have a baby. They were told their donor, number 9263, had an IQ of 160, a bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience, a master’s degree in artificial intelligence and was working on his PhD in neuroscience, the suit says. The pair were also shown his photos as a child and as an adult. I mean heck, that’s almost TOO good to be true, right? It’s actually kind of intimidating, but that’s just me. Well, turns out that their sperm donor was not a neuroscientist Mensa member. Brace yourselves, disaster is coming.
Last June, thanks to an email that was sent by accident to Collins and Hanson by the sperm bank that identified Donor 9263 as James Christian Aggeles, they found out almost none of that was true. They discovered “defendant Aggeles was schizophrenic, which is genetic and hereditary, thereby risking all of said donor’s offspring; that said defendant had dropped out of college and held no degree whatsoever; that said defendant Aggels had been charged with burglary and was an ex-felon; and that Aggeles’ photos had been doctored and a large mole on his cheek had been removed. I mean…WHAT. WHAAAAT.
The two women are now part of a lawsuit that represents 15 mothers who bore children supplied by Aggeles’ sperm. According to their lawyer, the couple decided to go public with their story to “prevent this from recurring and encourage sperm banks and other fertility cancers to do adequate investigation and research and have in place policies and procedures to prevent this from happening.”
They also want to create a “medical monitoring fund” for their children should they show they be in danger of developing schizophrenia themselves.
Look, you could argue that you never truly know your sperm donor no matter what the “vetting” process is. I agree with that, to an extent. But to be told one incredibly detailed story about the biological father of your child and then to make a decision to have said child based on that story, only to be told it “OH LOL JK” your kid’s dad is a mentally ill felon, is something else entirely. It’s awful, and now I need to go drown my horror in some Easter candy. Ugh.