Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

Fertility Doc Impregnated Patient With Own Sperm: Suit

Fertility Doc Impregnated Patient With Own Sperm: Suit

Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler were under the impression that a mixture of Fowler's sperm and that of approved donors who matched Fowler's physical description were used to inseminate Ashby when the couple struggled to conceive, reports the Daily Beast. The solution seemed simple in his view: Mix Rowlette's father's sperm with a small amount of an anonymous donor's sperm. The donor sperm had to come from a college student who looked like Fowler with brown hair, blue eyes and over 6 feet tall.

"However, instead of using donor genetic material and Mr. Fowler's genetic material as promised, Dr. Mortimer inseminated Ms. Ashby with his own genetic material", the 14-page lawsuit complaint stated, as reported by Newsweek.

Rowlette and her family seem convinced by the results of her Ancestry.com test, but there have been plenty of questions over the years about the trustworthiness of private, internet-based services like it. DNA tests from Ancestry.com and 23andMe have been known to show slightly different geographical ancestry for siblings or even identical twins, for example.

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IUI - intrauterine insemination or artificial insemination - is a fertility treatment that involves directly inserting sperm into a woman's womb.

The lawsuit claims that Mortimer's use of his own sperm to impregnate Ashby remained a secret until July. The family later had to move to Washington state, and when Ashby told the doctor, he cried - knowing this was his biological daughter, the suit says. When the Ancestry.com DNA test revealed that Rowlette's father was Ashby's fertility doctor, Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the family was stunned.

Upon discovering the deception, Rowlette recently filed a lawsuit against Mortimer and his wife, asking $10 million in damages for medical negligence, fraud, battery, and other charges.

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Ancestry.com said that "DNA testing helps people make new and powerful discoveries about their family history and identity. Mr. Fowler was also devastated by the news", the lawsuit states, explaining that the parents "painfully labored" over whether they should tell their daughter.

"Ms. Ashby contacted Mr. Fowler, now her ex-husband, and relayed the information she obtained from Ancestry.com".

It wasn't until Rowlette was helping clean up her father's house that she finally discovered her parents' connection to Mortimer.

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So far, Mortimer has not commented on the allegations against him, according to the Idaho Statesman. While tidying up her his roll-top desk, she found her birth certificate. Dr Mortimer delivered her. "Anyone who takes a test can change their DNA matching settings at any time, meaning that if they opt-out, their profile and relationship will not be visible to other customers", the statement said.

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