Woman sues doctor for inseminating mother with his own sperm

Desiree Steele
April 6, 2018

All of this came to light in a lawsuit filed to Idaho's U.S. District Court in March. However, Ashby got in touch with the now-divorced father Howard Fowler, as they both knew the truth: Mortimer was the OB/GYN who helped the struggling, aspiring parents conceive with what was supposed to be an anonymous sperm donor when the couple lived in Idaho.

That was the case for Washington state's Kelli Rowlette (née Fowler), who took a DNA test with the popular site Ancestry.com back in July 2017.

Additionally, Wheiler said, he is not aware of any other patient claims against Mortimer. Rowlette, who is also listed as a plaintiff, did not know who Dr. Mortimer was when she saw the notification.

She said she was "horrified and contacted her parents in a panic". Perhaps understatement runs in Health's family.

"Ultimately this decision was made for the objective of holding the responsible parties accountable for a grievous and damaging violation of trust. While the family understands the public's interest in the story they ask that their privacy be respected as they focus on the hard process of healing from this trauma".


"Ms. Ashby, Mr. Fowler, and their children eventually moved from Idaho Falls, Idaho to the State of Washington". He diagnosed Ashby with a tipped uterus and Fowler with a low sperm count and low sperm motility.

The ratio of genetic material would be 85 percent from Fowler and 15 percent from a donor with characteristics selected by the parents. The couple agreed and specifically asked for donors that were college students and more than 6 feet tall.

They paid for the procedure and for access to genetic material that would be used for the procedure.

Dr Mortimer told the couple he had a donor in mind, and he performed the artificial insemination procedure three times a month throughout the summer of 1980.

"She mentioned the confusing results to Ms. Ashby and relayed her disappointment in the unreliability of the service she had thought she was getting from Ancestry.com", the lawsuit says.


Instead, Mortimer allegedly inseminated Ashby with his own semen and then intentionally concealed that fact from the parents.

When people send away samples for DNA testing they're often hoping the results can help them trace the lineage of their families over centuries and across continents. Dr. Mortimer cried when Ms. Ashby informed him they were moving.

The results were more surprising than she expected: The 36-year-old discovered she had been conceived via fertility treatments, something her parents never told her. While tidying up her his roll-top desk, she found her birth certificate.

Rowlette alleges medical negligence, battery and fraud.

A representative of the clinic declined to comment on the lawsuit.


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