(CN) – A DNA sample sent to Ancestry.com in 2017 led to the filing of a federal lawsuit Friday, as it was discovered that a fertility doctor allegedly used his own sperm to inseminate a patient in 1980.
The parents and the child of the artificial insemination filed the medical malpractice lawsuit in Idaho’s federal court. The complaint alleges that Dr. Gerald Mortimer told Sally Ashby and her husband Howard Fowler that Fowler had a low sperm count and offered an insemination procedure in order to fulfill the couple’s wish to have a child.
“Dr. Mortimer represented that 85 [percent] of the mixture would be Mr. Fowler’s genetic material, while 15 [percent] would be genetic material from an anonymous donor of characteristics selected by Ms. Ashby and Mr. Fowler,” the 14-page complaint said. “Dr. Mortimer would then inseminate Ms. Ashby with the mixture.”
According to the lawsuit, Mortimer didn’t use donor or Fowler’s sperm during the process.
“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 complaint said.
Ashby gave birth to daughter Kelli Rowlette in 1981. The couple later had a son without medical assistance. The lawsuit alleges that Mortimer knew Rowlette was his biological daughter, but never told the couple what he had done.
“Ms. Ashby, Mr. Fowler, and their children eventually moved from Idaho Falls, Idaho to the State of Washington. Dr. Mortimer cried when Ms. Ashby informed him they were moving. Dr. Mortimer knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms. Ashby or Mr. Fowler. Dr. Mortimer fraudulently and knowingly concealed his use of his own genetic material in the Procedure.”
According to the complaint, Rowlette discovered the truth of the insemination after she sent a DNA sample to Ancestry.com and the results predicted a child-parent relationship between her and Mortimer.
Also named in the lawsuit is the Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls. The plaintiffs claim that the business knew about Mortimer’s actions.
The plaintiffs are represented by Shea Meehan of Walker, Hey, Meehan and Eisinger. A call for comment was made after business hours and not immediately returned.