A sperm donor who offered his services via social media fathered fifteen children to lesbian women without telling them about his inheritable condition, a court today heard.
James MacDougall, 37, went ahead with private sperm donations despite knowing that he suffered from Fragile X syndrome.
The genetic condition, which is inheritable, leads to low IQ and developmental delay and cannot be cured.
Mr MacDougall’s donations were today revealed as part of a Family Court battle in which he had hoped would result in him having access to four of the children he had fathered.
Despite originally signing an agreement saying he did not want any contact with some of the children, MacDougall applied to the courts for parental responsibility orders, and child arrangements orders, allowing him to spend time with four of his children.
Three mothers opposed Mr MacDougall’s response. Now a judge, Mrs Justice Lieven, sitting at Derby, has ruled that he should not have parental responsibility for the children, because it would cause harm to them.
In a highly unusual move, the judge also said mr MacDougall should be named to stop other women from using him as a sperm donor.
The document also said, on page 3, that he had Fragile X syndrome without explaining what this meant, and SW, who has problems reading and is extremely vulnerable, said she did not read that far into the agreement, the judge said.
After the birth, SW contacted McDougall who visited his baby daughter often, and she became pregnant with a second child, living at her home during lockdown before she asked him to leave in June 2020.
She claimed he made sexual comments to her, rubbed his erection against her, and showered with the toddler at least twice, which she found totally inappropriate.
She has not seen him since a serious incident on June 25, 2020 when he was arrested for attacking her and leaving her with bruising on her neck and back, and he has never met P who was born in December 2020.
The three-year-old is not verbal and her behaviour is challenging.
MacDougall is also the sperm donor father of another child, named only as L, who was born in January 2021, and B, a boy who was born in July 2018 just months before he started a relationship with his mother KE.
MacDougall won a court order from a different court allowing him to have regular contact with B, although the child has returned from contact with MacDougall with non-accidental bruises, said Mrs Justice Lieven.
The judge adjourned the case until she received a report from social services.
The judge found that MacDougall was a complex person, with learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum, with fixed views, concrete thinking and a profound lack of insight.
He said he wanted contact with P and N because if he was going to have contact with R it would be unfair on the others if they did not have contact with him.
He had little empathy, quickly became agitated, aggressive and lost control when not getting his way and there was copious evidence of him ringing or contacting people many times if they do not do what he wants, the judge said.
‘I do not consider that JM has any self-control over his feelings of anger and frustration,’ she said. An example was when MacDougall rang SW’s partner 77 times over Christmas 2020, which led to a prosecution for harassment.
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