Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Couple Sues U.S. Sperm Bank Alleging Donor Was a Schizophrenic

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Couple Sues U.S. Sperm Bank Alleging Donor Was a Schizophrenic

Article excerpt

Canadian couple sues sperm bank over donor info


Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson thought they were opting for a highly educated man with an "impressive health history" when they selected a donor from a U.S.-based sperm bank to start their family.

It was only years after the birth of their son that the Port Hope, Ont., couple learned they hadn't been told their donor was a schizophrenic college dropout with a criminal record, they allege in a lawsuit filed in a Georgia court last week.

The couple is now seeking damages for pain, suffering and financial losses as it alleges Xytex Corp. engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, negligence and battery, among other claims.

When reached for comment on Monday, Collins said she wasn't ready to speak publicly on the suit, but her lawyer said the legal action was an important one.

"The case is significant because I believe both fertility clinics and the sperm banks and everyone associated with the industry requires accountability and regulation," San Francisco-based lawyer, Nancy Hersh, told The Canadian Press.

"It would have been very easy for Xytex to have conducted an investigation in order to confirm the representations that they were making about this donor. It took our clients five to 10 minutes, once they were accidentally given his identity, to demonstrate to themselves that what Xytex has said about him was not true."

Collins and Hanson filed the suit to help provide accountability in the industry, prevent a similar situation for others, and establish a "medical monitoring fund" for their child because he has an increased risk of developing schizophrenia, Hersh said.

The Canadian couple isn't the only one affected by the situation, Hersh added. The suit states the donor appears to have fathered 36 children and Hersh said she had at least 15 other clients who may be joining the lawsuit.

Xytex said it "absolutely denies any assertion that it failed to comply with the highest standards for testing."

"Xytex is reviewing and investigating the allegations asserted," it said in a statement. "Recipients are provided access to a comprehensive list of the genetic and infectious diseases for which donated specimens are tested. …

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