A “delinquent, psychotic” sperm donor: scandal in Canada

Publié le 2 May, 2016

A “rather unusual” case has just emerged “on either side of the Atlantic”: three Canadian families are suing an American company for “deception” in its marketing of human sperm samples. Donor No. 9623 “was presented in the catalogue as a man of particular intelligence. However, this does not appear to be the case”.


Up until last January, his sperm had been used for ten years to artificially inseminate at least 36 women in Great Britain, Canada and the United States. A mail error by the Xytex company allowed families “to learn his true identity”. By searching the Internet, they found that “the man was, in fact, 39 years old, suffering from schizophrenia as well as psychotic and narcissistic personality disorders due to drug abuse” and that “he had been imprisoned for various offences”.

This raises the following question: “Can the man’s delinquent, drug-dependent past be transmitted in his genes when he was believed to have a high IQ and a brilliant career?”


Jean Yves Nau pointed out that, in France, “the sale of sperm” is managed by Cecos[1]. The donor is asked to attend an interview to undergo “a genetic investigation concerning his ancestors, descendants and collateral relatives to test for serious, transmissible diseases”. However, “recipient couples know nothing about the donor’s IQ, potential psychiatric disorders or criminal record. Furthermore, no information is given regarding the equivalent of UK “A” level results or socio-economic status. And, for the time being, nothing about blue eyes”.


[1] Centre d’Etudes et de Conservation des Œufs et du Sperme – Centre for the Study and Storage of Eggs and Sperm.

Le Figaro (15/04/2016); Jean Yves Nau (16/04/2016)

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