Fertility Doc Inseminated Me With His Own Sperm: Suit

Dr. David Claypool of Spokane, Washington, accused of passing off his sperm as that of donor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2023 7:59 AM CDT
Fertility Doc Inseminated Me With His Own Sperm: Suit
Brianna Hayes, center, poses with her older sister Darci Hayes, left, and mother Sharon Hayes, right, in June 2019 after graduating from her graduate school program at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash.   (Sharon Hayes via AP)

An Idaho woman is suing her one-time fertility doctor, saying he secretly used his own sperm to inseminate her 34 years ago—the latest in a string of such cases brought as at-home DNA sampling enables people to learn more about their ancestry, per the AP. Sharon Hayes, 67, of Hauser, Idaho, said in the lawsuit that she sought fertility care from Dr. David Claypool, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Spokane, Washington, in 1989 after she and her then-husband had been unable to conceive. She wanted an anonymous donor, and, according to the complaint filed Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court, Claypool informed her the donor would be selected based on traits she selected, such as hair and eye color, and that the donor would be screened for health or genetic issues.

He charged $100 cash for each of several treatments, saying the money was for the college or medical students who were donating the sperm, the lawsuit said. But last year, her 33-year-old daughter, Brianna Hayes, learned who her biological father was after submitting her DNA to the genetic testing and ancestry website 23andMe, Brianna Hayes told the AP on Thursday. "It's been an identity crisis, for sure," she said. "This was hidden from me my whole life. I felt traumatized for my mom, and the fact that I'm a product of his actions is off-putting." Hayes also learned something else: She had at least 16 other half-siblings in the area, she said. It was not immediately clear if any other women are pursuing legal claims against Claypool.

Claypool's lawyer, Drew Dalton, told the Seattle Times, which first reported about the lawsuit Thursday, that the matter had been in mediation. But the newspaper reported that Claypool claimed he had no knowledge of the allegations and didn't know Sharon Hayes. He stopped practicing in 2005, he said. "I know people are very happy," Claypool said of his past patients. "But this is the first I've heard of anything in 40 years." The claims in Sharon Hayes' lawsuit include fraud, failure to obtain consent in violation of state medical malpractice law, and violation of state consumer protection law for "his scheme to charge cash for his own sperm, while he was representing it was a donor's sperm," said RJ Ermola, an attorney for Hayes. (More sperm donors stories.)

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