Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

Who's your daddy? Woman finds out biological dad was parents' fertility doctor

Who's your daddy? Woman finds out biological dad was parents' fertility doctor

She is reported to have initially dismissed the Ancestry.com test that determined Mortimer was her father.

Millions have used Ancestry.com to trace the roots of their family tree, but for Kelli Rowlette it led to the stunning discovery that her biological father is actually her parents' fertility doctor. When Rowlette, 36, got her results from Ancestry.com, she found out that her father was Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the fertility doctor her parents consulted when they had trouble getting pregnant. In the early '80s, Rowlette's parents, Howard Fowler and Sally Ashby, had been dealing with infertility issues and turned to Dr. Mortimer for consultation.

In the lawsuit, Rowlette's parents remarked that they would not have gone through with the fertility treatments had they known that Mortimer would use his own sperm in the procedure.

The doctor recommended that Ashby undergo a procedure in which she would be inseminated with both sperm from her husband and an anonymous donor who matched the couple's specifications, the lawsuit says.

Rowlette was shocked by her DNA test results.

In her lawsuit the woman, who lives in Washington, USA, claims the doctor knew he used his own sperm on her mother, but had never mentioned it.

"Dr. Mortimer knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms. Ashby or Mr. Fowler", the complaint said.

It is also alleged that he cried when the family announced their plans to move to Washington, some 3000 miles away.

Now Rowlette takes legal action against gynecologist Gerald Mortimer, accusing him, among other things, of fraud, medical negligence, mental suffering and non-compliance with contract terms.

"Ms. Ashby contacted Mr. Fowler, now her ex-husband, and relayed the information she obtained from Ancestry.com". Rowlette's mother continued to see Mortimer for reproductive care. Dr Mortimer has not commented publicly on the case. She has filed a suit not only against Mortimer but his wife Linda McKinnon Mortimer and the practice itself.

Meanwhile, Rowlette was unaware of what transpired until October, when she found old paperwork at Fowler's house.

As a result, "people may learn of unexpected connections" unless they choose to make their DNA match settings private.

But after speaking with her parents, details eventually began piecing themselves together, according to the lawsuit. "With Ancestry, customers maintain ownership and control over their DNA data".

The procedure was performed three times a month while Ashby was ovulating in June, July and August 1980.

The couple maintains in the complaint that they did not know that Dr. Mortimer's genetic material was being used. He received a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two charges of obstruction of justice, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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