Until the age of 15, Alex N. knew his father by a list of characteristics and achievements.
6ft 4in tall. An IQ of 160 — the threshold for genius status. A master’s degree in artificial intelligence and plans to pursue a PhD in neuroscience engineering. Fluency in five languages. Proficiency in drumming.
That was all that Atlanta sperm bank, Xytex, could tell Alex about the stranger who'd helped his mothers bring him into the world, the stranger who made up one half of his biology.
Just that list, and a number: Donor 9623.
Three years ago, curious to learn more, the teenager entered the number and 'Xytex' into Google. Just in case.
There was his donor father's face and name littered throughout news articles about one of the biggest scandals in the history of assisted reproduction.
"Sickness, helplessness. This is who I selected to create a human with."
When Chris Aggeles filled out a Xytex donor registration form in 2000, he gave details about his appearance, hobbies, achievements, his criminal and medical history — both of which he declared to be clean, beyond his father's colour blindness.
Though donation is anonymous by default, he also ticked that he was open to being contacted by any future donor children.
From then on, he began donating regularly as 'Donor 9623', and earned as much as US$370 per vial, according to Atlanta Magazine. (Unlike Australia where donations must be altruistic, US donors are paid for their samples.)
In a bonus audio interview published on his Xytex profile and available for prospective donors to purchase, he said that while, at first, money was part of what attracted him to sperm donation, it wasn't his primary motivator.
"What really has kept me coming is the fact that I know that I am helping," he said, according to The Toronto Star, "to give parents who are very eager to have a child one of the greatest gifts in the world, their child. I can’t deny the power of that."
Chris' sperm was used by dozens of women in the United States, Canada and Britain, resulting in at least 36 children.
But it wasn't until 2014 that any learned the truth about him.
Listen: Dr Manuela Toledo explains the laws surrounding sperm, egg and embryo donation in Australia.
In the midst of a push for more transparency around sperm donation, Xytex launched a platform to facilitate mediated communication between recipients and their donors.
A group of Donor 9623's signed on. The women had already connected via a forum for donor-conceived families and relished the chance to ask him questions and send photographs of their children.