The Xytex Corp is a Georgia-based sperm bank that is now embroiled in at least a dozen lawsuits in several states that include California, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and even Canada. At issue is the sperm of donor number 9623 a man from Augusta, Georgia. Women and lesbian couples were told that the donor was working on his doctoral degree and had an IQ of 160, according to documents in the case. This made the donor’s sperm a valuable commodity with the potential of passing on positive genetic traits to offspring.
However, it was revealed that the donor had a criminal history, low IQ, no college degrees and was being treated for schizophrenia. The donor’s sperm has led to the birth of at least 36 children, which lawyers of some of the women have called a wrongful birth. The complex nature of the lawsuits because of the technology and implications has put the company on an unknown legal ground. Two cases in Georgia were dismissed in 2015 because Georgia does not recognize claims of “wrongful birth.” Lawyers for the company are trying to move many of the cases out of state courts and into a federal venue where some say a decision may be more favorable to the company. However, Xytex attorney Ted Lavender disputes this and is quoted as stating “Xytex sought consolidation in order to streamline the cases it is defending, but will now continue defending the individual cases in the jurisdictions where they are pending.”
The women claim that Xytex failed to ask the donor questions about his mental health, despite the company’s guarantee that each applicant underwent a rigorous medical examination. The suits were brought under products liability and various consumer fraud and common law claims. They seek a medical monitoring fund for the children. Xytex claims that none of the children born have exhibited any signs of mental illness or behavior and disputes claims of potential damages for the donor sperm.