AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several parents received a life-altering shock when a Georgia sperm bank accidentally released information on their children’s sperm donor.
Parents had selected the sperm of Donor 9623, according to the Atlantic, based on an impressive resume: an IQ of 160, fluency in four languages, a doctorate in neuroscience engineering — and a resemblance to Tom Cruise.
But the accidental reveal of donor Chris Aggeles’ name in 2014, helped sperm bank Xytex cruise into a mass of lawsuits from furious parents — one suit is even pending in the Georgia Supreme Court.
The truth is, the company (which did not respond to The Atlantic’s request for comment) had failed to verify any of the claims — and they were all false.
In reality, Aggeles was a 23-year-old who did not finish college, served time in prison for burglary and a 1999 diagnosis for schizophrenia — for which he was hospitalized.
Some mothers reported finding comments Aggeles had posted online saying that he was “hearing voices.” Aggeles had not disclosed his mental health history to Xytex.
Parents of the children the man fathered are now left with fears they may have predisposed their children to mental illness.
A new Audible podcast, “Donor 9623,” is looking closer at the case and includes interviews from the parents, the children, and even Aggeles himself.
The podcast, hosted by Dov Fox, professor of health law at the University of San Diego, told The Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang that the case brings up “deep, hard, fundamental questions.”
Aggeles explained his remorse to Fox in the interview, saying that it began when he saw an advertisement in a student newspaper and thought it would be a good way to earn income as a struggling waiter and aspiring drummer.
Aggeles told Fox that he first began experiencing possible hallucinations in high school and that at one point, he’d entered a shooting range and asked to rent a gun to shoot himself with — prompting staff to call the police, according to Daily Mail.
While Aggeles refuted the schizophrenia diagnosis to Fox, the diagnosis is backed up by court documents.
‘I’m sorry for betraying their [the parents] trust, it was a s***ty thing and I’m not happy about it,’ he added. ‘I feel terrible about it, I really do.’
He told Fox he hopes that the children he fathered have “long, happy, prosperous, peaceful lives.”
‘I hope they don’t hold a grudge against me. I hope that they realize that I’m imperfect to be sure but my intent was not malicious,’ he said. “… I do hope at some point I am able to meet if not all of them at least some of them.”
He added, “I hope that the families involved, and particularly the children involved, can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”