April 4 (UPI) — A 36-year-old Washington woman has sued a retired fertility doctor in Idaho after taking a DNA test and learning he allegedly inseminated her mother without her parents’ knowledge.
Kelli Rowlette said in the complaint she only learned she wasn’t biologically related to the father who raised her when she took a DNA test through Ancestry.com. The test determined she was instead the daughter of a former fertility doctor who lived in Idaho.
She said her parents then told her they had problems conceiving in the 1980s and sought the help of Dr. Gerald Mortimer in Idaho where they lived at the time. Rowlette’s parents, Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler, said they agreed to undergo a procedure in which Ashby would be artificially inseminated with sperm from Fowler — who had low sperm counts — and a donor.
They specified the donor must be a university student who was taller than 6 feet and had brown hair and blue eyes. Ashby and Fowler said that had they known Mortimer’s sperm was used, they would not have agreed to the procedure.
When Ashby learned the results of her daughter’s DNA test connecting her to Mortimer, she “contacted Mr. Fowler, now her ex-husband, and relayed the information she obtained from Ancestry.com. Mr. Fowler was also devastated by the news,” the lawsuit reads.
Rowlette’s lawsuit accuses Mortimer of fraud, medical negligence, battery, emotional distress and breach of contract.
Mortimer was Rowlette’s doctor after her birth and the lawsuit states the parents remember the doctor crying when they informed him they were moving to Washington.
“Dr. Mortimer knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms. Ashby or Mr. Fowler,” the complaint said.