Many children are finding out they weren’t fathered by sperm donors after all, but fertility doctors
Due to the popularity of DNA testing, many people are finding out some disturbing truths about their biological origins. Instead of being the product of artificial insemination via sperm donor, these grown children are finding out the fertility doctors who performed the procedure are their biological fathers.
The New York Times is reporting that these cases have begun to surface somewhat regularly as these consumer DNA tests have risen in popularity. So far, only three states have now passed laws criminalizing this horrific conduct by defining it as a form of sexual assault.
A law professor at Indiana University, Dr. Jody Medeira, is following more than 20 cases of this assault in the U.S. and abroad. They’ve occurred in a dozen U.S. states, including Connecticut, Vermont, Idaho, Utah and Nevada, as well as in England, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands.
Eve Wiley, now 32, learned at age 16 that she had been conceived through artificial insemination via sperm donation. Her mother, Margo Williams, tells the Times she sought help from a fertility specialist, Dr. Kim McMorries, because her husband was infertile. Dr. McMorries told Williams he found a sperm donor through a California donor bank.
After Eve took an online DNA test last year, she found out that she wasn’t the product of a sperm donor at all — she was the biological child of Dr. McMorries.
“You build your whole life on your genetic identity, and that’s the foundation,” Ms. Wiley says, per the Times. “But when those bottom bricks have been removed or altered, it can be devastating.”
Equally devastating is what DNA testing uncovered in a Dutch fertility clinic. According to the Dutch Donor Child Foundation, DNA testing has confirmed that a fertility specialist, Dr. Jan Karbaat, fathered 56 children, born to women who were patients of his. Dutch authorities closed his practice in 2009. He died in April 2017 at age 89.
Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility specialist in Indianapolis, used his own sperm to impregnate at least three dozen women in the 1970s and 1980s. Based on DNA testing, 61 people now claim he is their biological father.
Earlier this year, Indiana passed a law that makes fertility fraud — using the wrong sperm — a felony, and it offers victims the right to sue doctors for it. After discovering the truth about her biological father, Eve Wiley pushed for similar laws to be passed in her home state of Texas.
In June, Texas passed its own fertility-fraud law, and it goes further than those in Indiana and California. If a health care provider uses human sperm, eggs or embryos from an unauthorized donor, this is legally considered to be sexual assault. Those found guilty must register as sex offenders.
What makes this so horrifying is that by performing this criminal act, these doctors took away the agency their patients have over their body — by lying and by inseminating them with sperm they did not consent to receive.
Here’s hoping more states seek to push legislation with regard to fertility fraud — especially as more and more people continue to take online DNA tests that come with devastating results.