Children born from the sperm of a doctor who treated infertility


AmericaBeginning in the 1960s, three doctors in Rochester, New York secretly used their own sperm to help women with infertility, become pregnant.

In 2018, David Berry, 37, wanted to learn about his grandfather, whose British ancestry was, but he made an unexpected discovery: He and his father were not related.

The DNA test results have two more interesting pieces of information: more than 50% of Berry’s genes are Jewish, and he has a cousin or half-brother.

Since then, the man, who grew up in Rochester, who lives in Miami, begins his journey to find his biological father – an anonymous sperm donor. He suspected that the person was the doctor who treated his mother’s infertility, so he contacted his daughter to check the DNA.

In May 2021, after three years of searching, he knew his prediction was correct. David Berry’s biological father is Dr. Morris Wortman, an obstetrician in Rochester. The still-practicing doctor used his own sperm to impregnate Berry’s mother without telling her.

Berry also learned that she has at least 10 half-siblings. He met one of them, named Morgan Hellquist, 36 years old, living in Rochester.

David Berry was born from the sperm of a doctor who treated his mother’s infertility. Photo: New York Times

He informed Hellquist. For her, it was a huge shock. Hellquist met Dr. Wortman 10 years ago, when he was treated for gynecological problems. In September 2021, Hellquist filed a lawsuit against her biological father for crimes against her, causing her suffering. “Everything I knew about me was shattered and buried. The thought of that man’s DNA in me made me want to die,” she said.

The exposed truth also shocked Wortman’s current family. Arielle Wortman, 37, the doctor’s first wife, said: “I am heartbroken that my father has betrayed the trust of patients and families.”

According to legal experts, over the years, more than 50 American obstetricians have been accused of fraud related to sperm donation.

Traci Portugal, about 40 years old, in Washington, set up a website with many directories to track legal cases related to pregnancy fraud. She recorded more than 20 American doctors and at least 6 international doctors sued by former patients. Nearly all were exposed when their children were tested for DNA. Portugal made a website in 2019, knowing that her mother’s doctor was her father.

Not only Wortman, two other doctors at the same clinic used their own sperm to impregnate the patient. One passed away last year and another, Robert Tichell, is retired. “I’ve donated sperm before. When I’m in front of patients who want to have children but can’t find a sperm donor, it’s hard to say. It’s not morally right, but if you don’t, don’t know what will happen. ‘ said Mr Tichell. He assumed that other doctors were acting like him, but none of them told the truth.

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, thinks this type of deception by a doctor “can lead to grief” for a woman.

A step in the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure.  Photo: Minh Chau.

A step in the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure. Photo:Ovum.

Sperm banking in the 1970s and 1980s was not common in the US, and the freezing method was also little known. So doctors use fresh sperm from a donor.

The first large-scale sperm bank in the US, California Cryobank, was established in 1977. The US sperm banking industry was born in 1988.

Many doctors donated sperm as medical students in the 1960s and 1970s. Some observers believe doctors used their sperm to treat infertility in an attempt to build a reputation.

Berry said she was both stunned and relieved when the truth came to light. Although his mother asked for a donor like actor Tom Selleck, she always thought her son looked like Dr. Wortman.

“Now when I look in the mirror, good or bad, I see Mr. Wortman’s face. Part of me feels liberated, but on the other hand, thinking about what he’s done, I find this a hard pill to swallow. “, I said.

Intelligent Update (According to New York Times)

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