I’ve been interested in the topic of lesbian eugenics for most of the century, although judging from Google, the concept of “lesbian eugenics” has occurred to barely anybody else. I think the usual logic is:
– Lesbians are Good.
– Eugenics is Bad.
– Therefore, logically, the phrase “lesbian eugenics” Does Not Compute.
In reality, of course, the innate inability of two women to make a baby means that a man will be drafted based on his perceived genes.
But perception isn’t always reality. From the Washington Post:
By Yanan Wang April 15 at 5:04 AM
Eight years ago, Angela Collins and Elizabeth Hanson thought they had found the one — the man whose sperm would help them have their first child.
The couple from Port Hope, Ontario, was immediately struck by a sperm donor profile on the website of Xytex Corporation, a global sperm bank based in August [sic], Ga. Donor #9623, Collins told the Toronto Star, was the “male version of my partner.”
He had blue eyes, was well-educated and musically gifted, just like Hanson.
According to his profile, Donor #9623 boasted an IQ of 160. He held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in neuroscience, and was in the midst of pursuing a PhD. He had practically no health problems to speak of, but for the fact that his father was colorblind.
What more could they ask? With that, Donor #9623 became the biological father of Collins and Hanson’s baby. It was years later, in 2014, that Collins received a Facebook message from a woman in the United States who said she had used the same donor, the Star reported.
Donor #9623, the woman said, was not as he appeared.
Some Internet research revealed to Collins that her baby’s father was in reality a man, James Aggeles, who suffered from schizophrenia, narcissistic personality disorder and other mental illnesses.
He did not have any university degrees. In 2005, he was charged with residential burglary.
The information “made my heart sink like a lead ball into my stomach,” Collins told the Star.
Collins, Hanson and two other Canadian families filed lawsuits against Xytex in the Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging that the company misled them about the health of their sperm donor. …
According to the suit, he admitted in an interview that he lied about his education and medical history, neither of which he was allegedly asked to verify before he started donating sperm in 2000. He was never asked about his criminal history, he told lawyers. …
Xytex told the Star that the donor’s sperm has been used to conceive 36 children in Canada, the United States and Britain.
The families who filed suit claim that the sperm bank misrepresented the degree to which they were certain about the man’s qualifications. They say they were told that he was one of their most popular donors, and that less than 5 percent of applicants actually become Xytex sperm donors. Xytex told them applicants go through an extensive evaluation and interview process so that the company can ascertain their personality, behavior and health, the families said.
Xytex allegedly told them that they would ultimately know more about their sperm donor than they could ever know about a potential partner that they were likely to meet in everyday life.
Aggeles’s account of how he became a donor, detailed in the lawsuit, diverges from this promise.
He told the families’ lawyers that Mary Hartley, a donor manager at Xytex, encouraged him to report a higher IQ. After filling in his questionnaire with false information, Aggeles said, according to the suit, he completed a 10-minute physical examination during which the physician asked about neither his physical nor his mental health history.
Aggeles said he was approved to be a sperm donor two weeks later and began donating sperm immediately. In 2014, 14 years after he became a Xytex donor, he said the company asked him for proof of his educational qualifications. He allegedly provided fake graduation certificates that were readily accepted.
Collins and Hanson have attempted to seek legal recourse before, but their previous lawsuit was dismissed in a Fulton County, Ga., court in October. The Fulton County Superior Court judge who made the ruling, Robert McBurney, said theirs seemed to be a “wrongful birth” claim, which is not recognized by Georgia law.
That’s probably not a conversation you want to have with your kid.
By my very rough calculation, to within an order of magnitude, about a million Americans were conceived via donor sperm, so the seemingly comic question of quality control in the sperm bank industry is actually important. (But it’s still pretty funny.)