A routine genealogy check led to a family-shattering surprise for one Idaho woman. When Kelli Rowlette received her results back, she assumed someone had made a mistake. It predicted a parent-child relationship not to the father who had raised her, but to another man more than 500 miles away.
Rowlette discovered that, almost 4 decades ago, her parents had struggled to conceive, and that her mother underwent successful artificial insemination. But what not even her own parents realized is that the sperm used was not her husbands, but sperm belonging to their own fertility doctor.
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This wild story comes from a lawsuit filed recently in Idaho. The fertility doctor diagnosed Rowlette’s father with a low sperm count, and her mother with a tipped uterus, meaning it would be difficult for them to conceive naturally. The doctor recommended both Rowlette’s father’s sperm and that of an anonymous donor be inserted for the best possible chance of conception. Though her parents requested a 6+ ft tall donor with brown hair and blue eyes, the lawsuit alledges that their doctor (who did not match those specifications) used his own sperm.
This doctor wound up delivering his own child and remained the couple’s physician for several more years. When Rowlette’s mother told the doctor they were moving away, he cried — a fact she thought was strange at the time but now realizes is proof he knew it was his own child. Even so, he never told them the secret.
It wasn’t until 36 years later that the lies finally unraveled, thanks to the wonders of DNA Testing. Rowlette was complaining about the unreliability of the service to her mother, when she happened to mention the name of the match. Her mother immediately recognized the doctor’s name, and called her now-ex husband to confirm the shocking truth.
An Indiana fertility doctor pleaded guilty last year to a similar case, when DNA testing showed he was the father of at least two of his patient’s children.
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