Fertility Doctor Impregnated Patient With Own Sperm: Court
In a situation that mimics the story of the Australian TV show Sisters*, comes this story out of the US.
After Kelli Rowlette, 36, sent her DNA to Ancestry.com, she discovered that her biological father was not her Dad – he was actually her parents’ fertility doctor.
Rowlette’s parents turned to Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer in the early 1980s after experiencing difficulties getting pregnant.
She claims the now-retired doctor knowingly swapped in his own semen sample instead of that of an anonymous donor her parents had selected.
Court documents revealed that her mother Sally Ashby had a tipped uterus and her father, Howard Fowler, was diagnosed with a low sperm count.
To increase their chances of conceiving, the couple reportedly agreed to mix the husband’s sperm with other matching donors – their preference being college students taller than six feet with brown hair and blue eyes.
The lawsuit says that Mortimer told them that he had found a donor matching that description.
However, it’s alleged that when Mortimer performed the procedure in 1980, he used his own sperm.
Mortimer did not match the couple's specifications.
Court documents said that Ashby became pregnant and, in May 1981, Mortimer delivered his own child.
Its claimed that when Ashby revealed to Mortimer that her family was moving, the doctor cried.
Then, years later, the secret started to unravel when Rowlette sent Ancestry.com her DNA sample.
She is reported to have initially dismissed the Ancestry.com test results.
In August, she was helping to sort through her parents' old papers when she ran across her birth certificate. It had been signed by the doctor who delivered her - Gerald Mortimer, according to the lawsuit.
The family is suing Mortimer for medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.
*Sisters is the Aussie TV series which follows the story of a young woman after her father, an in-vitro fertilisation pioneer, makes a death-bed confession that he used his own sperm, potentially fathering hundreds of children.