Chris Aggeles is seen in a 2005 mugshot in his arrest on burglary charges
The prolific sperm donor who claimed to be a genius with a 160 IQ but was revealed to be an ex-con with a history of mental illness has spoken out, apologizing to the parents of the 36 children created with his sperm.
Chris Aggeles, 43, broke his silence in an interview with the podcast Donor 9623, six years after his true identity was accidentally revealed by a sperm bank, sparking lawsuits.
Instead of the PhD candidate and genius who spoke four languages that he claimed to be, Aggeles was revealed to have served prison time for burglary, and court documents stated he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
‘I hope that the families involved, and particularly the children involved, can find it in their hearts to forgive me,’ Aggeles told podcast host Dov Fox in an interview.
‘I’m sorry for betraying their trust, it was a s***ty thing and I’m not happy about it,’ he added. ‘I feel terrible about it, I really do.’
Aggeles first began donating sperm in 2000, when he was 23 and a college dropout, working as a waiter in Georgia and aspiring to succeed as a drummer
Aggeles first began donating sperm in 2000, when he was 23 and a college dropout, working as a waiter in Georgia and aspiring to succeed as a drummer.
‘One of my roommates had seen an advertisement in one of the student newspapers and thought I would be a good candidate. It’s a way to earn income,’ he recalled in the podcast.
‘It was a way for me to provide some stability in my life,’ he said. ‘It was an honor in a lot of ways, I felt like I was special somehow.’
Aggeles went on to become a prolific donor, sometimes contributing twice a week, due to high demand based on the profile he had filled out for the sperm bank.
What he did not reveal was that in 1999, he had been committed to a mental institution with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
In the interview, Aggeles said that he first experienced possible hallucinations in high school, hearing his name repeated over and over as he tried to fall asleep.
Instead of the PhD candidate that he claimed to be, Aggeles served prison time for burglary, and court documents stated he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia
Aggeles disputed that he had schizophrenia in the interview, insisting that he had a temporary condition known as schizophreniform disorder, which has similar symptoms but persists for less than six months.
According to court documents, however, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
Aggeles was charged with one count of burglary in 2005 and served eight months in jail after pleading guilty. After his probation was up in 2014, his case was discharged under terms of the First Offender Act.
As Aggeles explains it, and police reports confirm, he walked into a shooting range one day and asked to rent a gun. When the attendant asked what kind of gun, he replied that he wanted a gun to kill himself.
Police were called and escorted him outside of the range, where he saw a pile of granite and hatched a scheme to sell it as material for countertops.
Aggeles said that he didn’t have money for a truck to haul the granite, and decided that he would steal in order to get a truck and bring his scheme to fruition.
None of these incidents – the arrest and the history of mental illness with a potentially genetic component – were revealed to the sperm bank by Aggeles in questionnaires he filled out.
In 2014, Xytex mistakenly revealed Aggeles’ name and email in a communication to some of the families who had used his sperm
His profile stated that he had a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience, a master’s degree in artificial intelligence and was working on his PhD in neuroscience engineering.
In a six-page health questionnaire asking if he or any blood relative had any of the 143 medical conditions, Aggeles answered no to all but one – he said his father was color blind.
When asked if he had schizophrenia or manic depression (bipolar disorder), he said ‘no’.
Just weeks after getting out of jail, Aggeles was back at Georgia-based sperm bank Xytex Corp, donating sometimes as often as twice a week.
He says that the bank told him that he was a popular donor based on his profile, and that his sperm was in high demand.
In 2014, Xytex mistakenly revealed Aggeles’ name and email in a communication to some of the families who had used his sperm.
Some of them, curious to learn more, looked up his name, and were shocked with what they found.
Lawsuits followed, with far-flung couples in America, the UK and Canada expressing outrage over the deception.
‘I had basically what amounted to a nervous breakdown,’ Aggeles recalls. He went to a police station and confessed to deceiving the sperm bank, but was never criminally charged in the matter.
‘I was embarrassed, I was remorseful. It was really, really tough,’ he recalls. Aggeles said that he did not hold a grudge against the sperm bank for revealing his identity.
Aggeles has never had any children of his own, something he now regrets. ‘I’ve always wanted kids, but i don’t know if that’s in the cards anymore,’ he said.
Asked what message he had for the children created with his sperm, he said: ‘I hope that they have long happy prosperous peaceful lives.’
‘I hope they don’t hold a grudge against me. I hope that they realize that I’m imperfect to be sure but my intent was not malicious,’ he continued.
‘I do hope at some point I am able to meet if not all of them at least some of them.’