James Christian Aggeles is a paranoid schizophrenic with various personality disorders and grandiose delusions, which came to the forefront after he donated sperm to Xytex Corp., a “fertility company” based in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Aggeles claimed to have an I.Q. of 160 (well above Stephen Hawking’s and Einstein’s), with various degrees, and working on a Ph.D. in “structural neuroscience” (whatever that is). You might think he was laughed out of the sperm bank, with a kick in the pants.
But no: In fact, Aggeles could have claimed that he could bench 400 pounds and had invented sliced bread, for Xytex did not bother to check any of his credentials, but blindly took his sperm, which they used to make a whole lot of little embryo-babies, some of whom were transferred to (we think) 36 unsuspecting would-be-mothers, who dreamt of their little tykes growing up also to be like their paper-tiger Dad, at least according to his “grandiose” resume.
Now, all these three dozen Mums are raising children who may grow up to be unemployable schizophrenics, ahem, just like Dad. Three Ontario mothers are suing the corporation (most are in the U.S.).
Thus is the brave new world in which we live, the fruit of the tragic 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act, permitting certain in-vitro fertilization practices in Canada: Unlike our neighbors to the south, we cannot buy or sell sperm or eggs, but we can use them. A number of Catholics supported the Bill back then, as at least prohibiting some of the worst evils. However, contrary, I would argue, to Pope John Paul II’s teaching in paragraphs 73-74 of Evangelium Vitae, we introduced into positive law some other grave evils, as we see in the case of the prolific Aggeles who, it seems, will not be charged, as not compos mentis enough to understand what he was doing.
I would imagine that the corporate heads at Xytex knew but had no motivation to fix the problem.
Of course, these sperm banks are in the business of profit, so why would they check their donating clients? What sells, sells, and smart, healthy sperm cells sell, whether they be smart or healthy in reality. After all, say the hand-wringing execs of these misaptly named misanthropic centers of fertility, who really is ever going to find out, at least until it is far too late?
By happenstance, Xytex inadvertently cc’d an email to some of the families with Mr. Aggeles’ real name. A quick Google search determined that he was not the genius he claimed to be, far from it, so the cat was out of the bag, or the true nature of the sperm out of the secret vaults of the bank.
There are a whole lot of Mr. Aggeles’ out there in the world, siring untold dozens, even hundreds, of children. (Keep in mind that in sperm banks, many more embryos are conceived than are transferred to wombs, for there is a high failure rate in these procedures, so Aggeles is likely the father of a lot more than 36.)
Recall the host of evils that arise from this practice: children who know not their fathers, nor their (surrogate) mothers; multiple siblings who know not they are siblings; lack of genetic diversity; technological manipulation and control of human reproduction. And perhaps the most disturbing: thousands, if not millions, of non-transferred embryos left in cold storage, left to what the Church has called an “absurd” fate, likely eventual death, as they are abandoned and forgotten. For a Magisterial and theological take, see the trivium of documents: Humanae Vitae (1968), Donum Vitae (1987) and Dignitatis Personae (2008) all well worth a read.
Thus is the Promethean Age of Man, or, in this case, Woman: If Woman wants a child, and has no Man, then a child must be given her, in a twisted parody of Luke’s Gospel, where a Woman conceives of the Holy Spirit, without a Man. And, lest we forget, this Woman had the help and support of one of the greatest of Men, Saint Joseph.
I keep hoping we might return to some sort of sanity and reason in our world, but, ten years after Benedict XVI’s crisp, clear, and direct Regensburg Address calling for such a return, my hopes keep getting dashed on the rocks of madness. An article this morning announced that they now may be able to use sperm alone to fertilize “any cell of the body.” Hence, we may soon have children without mothers, along with children without fathers. All you men out there, we may even be able to conceive our own children, quite literally ourselves, in a bizarre twist to cloning, the ultimate vanitas vanitatis.
A final note: There was a review this morning of a new Bridget Jones film, a decade and a half after the first of this franchise which I have never watched, and of whose plot I am nescient (it was apparently a vague adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice). In this new incarnation (pun intended), Bridget, played by the now 47-year-old Renee Zelweeger, has a one-night stand (or is that a two-night?) with both of her paramours of yesteryear. She conceives, remarkably one might think, and now has to decide which one she wants to be father of her child. Post hoc, propter ergo hoc.
Such is the age of choice and determining your own destiny as a woman, even in middle age, as the breathless CBC reviewer gushed over my Friday morning porridge. No longer do such independent and free-thinking females require men, not for their money, their living, nor, now, for their children.
In real life, insofar as we are still grounded in reality, we should ponder the tragedy of the Italian woman who had herself filmed having sexual relations with her boyfriend, sent the tape to her ex-boyfriend and possibly three others. It eventually appeared on-line. The video, as one might suspect in our world without honor, went viral, being viewed more than a million times on various social media sites. The woman, known only as “Taziana,” killed herself in the midst of trying to change her name and identity, as she tried to escape the unbearable shame. May God have mercy on her soul, and on those who helped goad her to her tragic death. The shame that is inherent in the act of sex (see John Paul II again, in his Theology of the Body) rests largely upon the woman, which is why, I suspect, so many single women turn to these anonymous sperm banks for their babies, rather than turning to one-night stands with, for want of a better term, “real” men.
I will say this: At least the fictional fornicatory Bridget/Renee knew, in the epistemological and the Biblical sense, who the father of her child was, with some degree of certainty. Not so the poor, misguided women who were technologically, and blindly, united with the schizophrenic Aggeles, and all others like him, geniuses or not. The greatest victims in this whole immoral swamp are the poor children of these misbegotten unions.
Brave new world, indeed.