Couple's Lawsuit Over Schizophrenic Sperm Donor Dismissed

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
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Canadian residents Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson sued a sperm bank and and its parent company Xytex Corp. after they discovered their sperm donor was not a healthy neuroscientist as they believed, but a man with schizophrenia who had been arrested for burglary.

Though the couple filed a product liability lawsuit in March, alleging they were mislead, a judge dismissed the suit on Oct. 20. Judge Robert McBurney ruled that the case should be a wrongful birth claim - not a product liability lawsuit - but those types of suits are illegal in the state of Georgia, where the legal battle was playing out, ABA Journal reported.

“Wrongful birth” suits occur when the parents argue they would have terminated the pregnancy if they were aware of the fetus’ condition. "This claim most closely (though by no means perfectly) fits a claim for wrongful birth - and so is not allowed,” McBurney wrote in his ruling, KZTZ reported.

Though the couple’s son is healthy, he is at risk for schizophrenia and McBurney acknowledged their might be some fault with the laws that deal with sperm banks. "Science has once again - as it always does - outstripped the law," he wrote. 

"Plaintiffs make a compelling argument that there should be a way for parties aggrieved as these Plaintiffs are to pursue negligence claims against a service provider in pre-conception services. After all, the human life that makes the calculus so complicated has not yet begun when would-be parents are working with companies such as Xytex."

According to the suit, the sperm donor, identified as James Christian Aggeles, fathered 36 children, People Magazine reported. Collins and Elizabeth were hoping to establish a fund for all of the children so they can be tested and, if need be, treated for schizophrenia, in addition to seeking punitive damages.

Sources: ABA Journal, KZTZ, People Magazine Image via Sergei Golyshev/Flickr