Three Ontario families are suing a U.S.-based sperm bank and its Canadian distributor, alleging they were misled about a donor's medical and social history, which included a criminal record and significant mental illness.
The families, who all used the same donor, have brought three separate suits against Georgia-based Xytex Corp and Ontario-based Outreach Health Services over the sperm of Donor 9623. The families allege that donor was promoted as highly educated, healthy and popular.
Court papers filed in Ontario this week allege the donor had in fact been diagnosed with schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder, had spent time behind bars for a residential burglary and did not have the degrees he claimed to obtain.
The documents allege Xytex failed to properly investigate the donor's education claims and his medical history, and misrepresented him to customers, including suggesting he had the IQ level of a genius.
Statement from Ted Lavender, lawyer representing Xytex Corp:
The first of the lawsuits was filed in Atlanta in March 2015 and dismissed by the judge in October 2015. The appeal of that case was then dismissed by the Georgia Court of Appeals in March 2016. The trial judge and the Court of Appeals got it right. Xytex looks forward to successfully defending itself from the new lawsuits with the same results as the original case. Back in April 2015, there was a lot of media attention surrounding the allegations in that lawsuit when it was filed, but virtually no media attention when the case was dismissed. Pursuing claims in a court of law requires actual evidence and proof. Making unfounded allegations in the court of public opinion requires no actual proof at all, but merely the word of the very lawyers and litigants who already failed in a court of law. Xytex is an industry leader and complies with all industry standards in how they safely and carefully help provide the gift of children to families who are otherwise unable have them without this assistance. My client has no further comment.
Nancy Hersh, a lawyer in San Francisco who is representing some of the families in a lawsuit against Xytex Corp in Georgia
Judith Daar, Professor at Whittier Law School, Clinical Professor at UCI School of Medicine and current Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Ethics Committee