Angie Collins opened her laptop one evening in June 2014 to a Facebook message she says “made her heart sink like a lead ball into my stomach.”
It was from a woman in the United States who had used the same sperm donor as she had to get pregnant. They knew each other from an online forum that connects donor-conceived families.
Chris Aggeles, a now 39-year-old man from Georgia had the perfect sperm bank profile. His profile on the sperm bank website claimed that he was working on a PhD in neuroscience engineering en route to becoming a professor of biomedical robotics at a medical school. The website also calimed he perfect health.
Chris Aggeles’ sperm donor profile said he had received international acclaim for his talent as a drummer as well.
His sperm has been used to create 36 children: 19 boys and 17 girls from 26 families, according to a 2014 email to Collins from Georgia-based sperm bank Xytex Corp.
The woman wrote to Collins that she had learned some unsettling information about their supposedly anonymous donor. He was not the healthy man advertised on his sperm-bank profile. She had discovered he has schizophrenia, a serious mental illness that he has had for much of his adult life. In addition to schizophrenia, court documents show he has had diagnoses of bipolar and narcissistic personality disorders, and has described himself as having schizoaffective disorder. He also has colour blindness on his dad’s side, dropped out of college, struggled in the past to hold down jobs. and has a lengthy prison record among other problems.
Collins, mother of a then 6-year-old son, and other moms who used the donor’s sperm frantically took to the Internet in search of information they hoped would disprove the revelation.
Instead, “it just kept getting worse and worse,” she recounts in her first exclusive interview since her case made headlines around the world a year ago.
A lawyer representing the women who used Aggeles’ sperm said he sold his sperm to Xytex between 2000 and 2014, she says, adding that some was stored and made available for use after that time.
Aggeles, his lawyer and some family members declined to be interviewed by the Star for this story despite repeated requests.
Collins, a 45-year-old teacher from this quiet town east of Toronto, says she felt physically ill when she was hit with the realization her “son’s life could just turn on a dime in puberty.”
“It was like a dream turned nightmare in an instant,” she says.
As early as this week, she and her partner, Beth Hanson, intend to file a lawsuit against Xytex from Toronto, Hersh says, noting they have retained local legal counsel. More Canadian families may join the legal action.
As well, Hersh says she intends to file additional lawsuits in the United States on behalf of affected American and British families within the next two months.
Allegations against Xytex, which include fraud and negligent misrepresentation, have not been proven in court and the company denies any wrongdoing.
In a recent email, Xytex lawyer Ted Lavender says the company has been in compliance with industry standards. Xytex will “vigorously defend” itself against any new lawsuits and seek to have them dismissed, he writes, adding that he has no further comment at this time.
Source: The Star News