Family Sues After Daughter Discovers Mom's Fertility Doctor Is Her Biological Dad

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Gizmodo notes that, upon receipt of the results of the ancestry test, Ms Rowlette was baffled by the inclusion of Gerald Mortimer, but she didn't know who he was right off the bat.

After the DNA test, Kelli Rowlette realised that the doctor had used his own sperm to impregnate her mother when she used artificial insemination in the 1980s. Although she initially expected that this was an error - telling her now-divorced parents as much - it transpired that Kelli Rowlette was related to the doctor who delivered her at birth, 36 years ago. In the early '80s, Rowlette's parents, Howard Fowler and Sally Ashby, had been dealing with infertility issues and turned to Dr. Mortimer for consultation. The procedure to inseminate Rowlette's mother was meant to mix 85% of her father's sperm with 15% from a college student of similar appearance.

However, instead of using the specified mixture, Dr. Mortimer inseminated Ms. Ashby with his own genetic material.

Court documents show Rowlette learned who Mortimer was after her parents told her about the procedure and Mortimer's role as her mother's obstetrician.

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

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In 1980, Ashby and Fowler made a decision to resort to artificial insemination, using a combination of Fowler's sperm and that of an unknown person who supposedly matched their requested traits.

The family filed the lawsuit in Idaho last week, accusing both parties of medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract, according to NPR.

According to court documents, Kelli Rowlette's parents, Ms. Ashby and Mr. Fowler, were a married couple struggling to conceive in 1979 in Idaho Falls, Idaho when they became patients of OGA under the care of Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, an OB/GYN.

After news of the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Ancestry.com said in a statement Tuesday that DNA testing "helps people make new and powerful discoveries about their family history and identity".

Rowlette found out the truth on her own in October when she noticed Mortimer's signature on her birth certificate.

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The retired doctor could not be reached for comment.

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

Mortimer is accused of knowing Rowlette was his daughter and concealing it even when the family moved to Washington. "With Ancestry, customers maintain ownership and control over their DNA data".

But, apparently, for about three months, the breeding specialist fertilized Ashby's ova with his own sperm. Mortimer apparently thought it was okay to use himself as a donor without telling the couple what he did.

In the lawsuit against Mortimer, Rowlette and her parents are requesting an amount in excess of $75,000 plus costs, disbursements, reasonable attorney fees and interest. He received a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two charges of obstruction of justice, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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