An at-home DNA test led a New Jersey woman to accuse her former physician of “medical rape” on Tuesday, saying the man secretly swapped his own sperm in for the anonymous donor she had ordered.
MANHATTAN (CN) — Bianca Voss was 37 when she looked to artificial insemination so that she could conceive a child in 1983. She elected to use an anonymous sperm donor but, another 37 years later, the daughter that these visits would produce wanted to learn about the other side of her gene pool.
Roberta Voss signed up with the DNA-testing service 23andMe, getting results that identified her father as one Martin Greenberg, the very same obstetrician-gynecologist who told her mother that he was inseminating her with an anonymous sperm bank deposit.
“I’m angry I was violated in this way,” Bianca Voss, now 75, said Tuesday in a virtual press conference where she announced the filing of a federal complaint against Greenberg. “How could I have picked such a criminal and immoral physician that would do this to me?”
Represented by Jason Kane with the firm Peiffer Wolf in Pittsford, N.Y., Voss brought her lawsuit in Manhattan, alleging 11 counts that include battery, fraud and misrepresentation.
“Dr. Martin D. Greenberg secretly inserted his own sperm into his patient, Bianca Voss. He did so without her consent and against her wishes. Some people call this horrific act ‘medical rape.’ But regardless of what you choose to call it, Greenberg’s heinous and intentional misconduct is unethical, unacceptable, and illegal,” attorney Joseph Peiffer said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the Voss family is among thousands like it across the United States where an epidemic of fertility fraud is now underway. We have to do whatever it takes to rein in this rogue industry run amok.”
The complaint notes that DNA testing is ubiquitous today but still in its infancy when she underwent artificial insemination, paying Greenberg $100 to obtain a specimen from the sperm bank.
Roberta, who turns 37 this year, noted in Tuesday’s press conference that Greenberg never responded when she reached out to him on social media after she learned he was her father.
“The worst part was when I saw the photo of the doctor, I saw myself,” said Roberta. “It’s hard for me to look in the mirror every day and see the person who violated my mother.”
Her mother, now 75, wants accountability.
“This situation has upended my life and my family and the damage it is doing and the emotional scars that it is creating may never heal,” Voss said in a press release. “I want Dr. Greenberg to have to answer for what he did. He needs to be held accountable for his actions.”
Peiffer Wolf has taken on thousands of fertility fraud cases like the one Voss brought today. The law firm says the $2.1 billion fertility industry is like the “Wild West,” pointing to a report they did in 2019 that called on Congress to impose more regulations on the industry, noting that barber shops and nail salons have more regulations than the fertility industry.
The report notes that 1 in 10 women seek out some sort of fertility treatment, resulting in about 69,000 live births a year, which is 2% of all children born annually.
While there are not yet any other known children that were fathered by Greenberg in this way, Peiffer says that this is not something a doctor like Greenberg probably only did once. Indeed, home DNA kits like those sold by 23andMe and Ancestry helped reveal in 2019 that the former Indianapolis fertility doctor Donald Cline fathered at least 50 children with patients who were unaware they were receiving his sperm.
Contact information is not available for Dr. Greenberg, who the complaint says is about 78 years old and living in the Miami area.