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Idaho Falls

Lawsuit dropped in alleged Idaho doctor-patient insemination

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - The lawsuit against a retired Idaho gynecologist accused of using his own sperm to inseminate a patient seeking fertility treatments has been dismissed.

Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler brought the lawsuit against Dr. Gerald Mortimer in 2018 after their daughter, Kelli Rowlette, learned through genetic testing that Mortimer was her biological father, not Fowler.

The case had been set to go to trial next Monday but court records said it was dismissed in April. No reason was listed in the records for why the lawsuit was dismissed.

Ashby and Fowler stated in the lawsuit that they went to the doctor for help conceiving in 1979. Mortimer recommended that the couple mix Fowler's DNA with that of a donor and the couple paid to access a donor bank.

In 2017, their daughter learned through genetic testing offered by Ancestry.com that Mortimer, whom she did not know, was her biological father. Rowlette then saw on her birth certificate that Mortimer was the doctor who signed the certificate.

Ashby then told Rowlette for the first time that she was conceived through artificial insemination using a sperm donor.

The lawsuit demanded damages in excess of $75,000, alleging Mortimer secretly used his own sperm in the procedure against the couple's wishes to use a college student.

Mortimer initially denied the lawsuit's allegations but ultimately admitted to using his own sperm to impregnate patients on more than one occasion, the Post Register reported, citing a deposition.

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Associated Press

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