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Sperm donor fathered 15 children without mentioning rare genetic condition
31 May 2022, 12:26 | Updated: 31 May 2022, 12:32
A sperm donor who fathered 15 children without telling their mothers he has an incurable genetic condition has been named by a judge.
James MacDougall, 37, suffers from Fragile X syndrome, a hereditary disease associated with low IQ and mental development.
He advertised on social media as a sperm donor for lesbian women, with his condition likely meaning he would have been turned down by any clinics.
Mr MacDougall signed an agreement with the mothers, saying he did not want contact with his children once they were born.
However, he later reversed course and went to court seeking access to four of his offspring.
Three mothers opposed his bid and the case was heard by Mrs Justice Lieven, who denied Mr MacDougall parental responsibility.
In a highly unusual move she also publicly named him, as a warning to other women seeking to become mothers.
Justice Lieven commented: "The usual approach of anonymity in the Family Courts should not be used as a way for parents to behave in an unacceptable manner and then hide behind the cloak of anonymity."
Anthony Fletcher, who manages a number of sperm donor Facebook groups, said he's removed Mr MacDougall following the ruling.
On the social media site he posted: "Many of you will have seen the very concerning news story about the donor James MacDougall.
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"I was particularly shocked by this one, because he's been on the donor groups for years, and I haven't received any complaints about him as far as I can remember.
"I've now removed him from all of my groups."
However the controversial donor was defended by his adoptive parents, 73-year-olds June and John MacDougall, who said their son suffers from autism.
Speaking to MailOnline Mrs MacDougall said: "This court case has broken his heart, and ours.
"When he first told me he had become a dad two to three years ago, he showed me a picture and said: 'This little baby is mine'.
"He didn't want any money, he just wanted to help women, who couldn't conceive naturally, have babies.
"It was his gift to them and he never did anything illegally, as far as we are concerned."
Her husband echoed these comments, stating: "It has been a blessing we have had grandchildren.
"Our son has done nothing wrong. We do not want him crucified!"