U.S.

Doctors used their sperm in artificial insemination

Bianca Voss reeled in shock when her daughter, Roberta, told her the results of the 23andMe genetic test she took last fall. It indicated that the fertility doctor who had artificially inseminated Voss in 1983, enabling her to give birth to Roberta, had secretly used his own semen.

“I am angry that I was violated in this manner,” Voss said during a late May online news conference to announce a federal lawsuit against the doctor, Martin D. Greenberg, who worked in New York City during the 1980s and now lives in Aventura, Florida. “How could I have picked such a criminal and immoral physician who would do such a thing to me?”

Her daughter was angry, too. Roberta Voss had tried to contact Greenberg through his 23andMe account, but it was deleted after she messaged him. “He knew he was caught, and he was trying to cover it up,” she said in interview with USA TODAY.

Bianca Voss is the latest among dozens of women who have alleged they were duped by fertility doctors they trusted to inseminate them with sperm from anonymous or chosen donors. They discovered the deceptions decades later, when their children took popular, at-home DNA tests.

Increasingly, the parents, their children and lawmakers are fighting back. Families have sued former doctors for what they allege were fraudulent inseminations decades ago. Six states have enacted laws against so-called fertility fraud, and other states are considering similar statutes.

One of the lawyers representing Bianca Voss says tougher oversight is overdue for what he characterized as the lightly-regulated fertility industry.

“In the majority of states, and at the federal level, it’s the Wild West,” said attorney Adam Wolf, a shareholder of the national law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway. He predicted additional fertility fraud cases will emerge. 

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