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Sperm swimming

To the mothers, he was just Donor 9623. They did not know his name, but from his glowing sperm-donor profile, they knew he had an IQ of 160, spoke four languages, was pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience engineering, and looked like Tom Cruise.

But Donor 9623 wasn’t who he said he was. He wasn’t in graduate school. He had never even finished college. The lies began to unravel in 2014, when the sperm bank accidentally revealed his name—Chris Aggeles—and his email address in a message to a group of mothers. By then, the sperm he’d produced over 14 years had been sent to multiple states and three countries, resulting in at least 36 children. Curious, the mothers Googled him and found a comment he’d left online about “hearing voices.” They later found out that he had been hospitalized for mental illness, had been on disability, was suicidal at one point, and pleaded guilty for burglary—all before or during the time he was donating sperm.

The sperm bank, Xytex, didn’t know any of this, and it hadn’t verified any of...

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