In previous blog posts, we’ve shared stories of people who have discovered as adults that their biological fathers were not anonymous sperm donors as their parents were led to believe decades earlier, but were instead fertility doctors who used their own sperm to impregnate patients.
Simultaneous lawsuits were filed recently against two currently-licensed medical practitioners, Dr. Phillip M. Milgram (La Jolla, CA) and Dr. Michael S. Kiken (Lynchburg, VA). The suits are seeking unspecified monetary damages. The suits also demand that each of the doctors disclose their medical histories to the families impacted by their actions. Multiple plaintiffs claim that they’ve discovered they may have inherited health conditions or issues from the doctors, when their parents believed the sperm used was from individuals who were both physically and mentally healthy.
Only three states (California, Indiana, and Texas) currently have anti-fertility fraud legislation that make it a crime for a doctor or other professional involved in assisted reproduction to use his own sperm to impregnate patients. While it is too early to speculate about the outcome of these recently filed legal actions, it is entirely possible that they will lead to more states – or even the federal government – criminalizing the practice.
These recent lawsuits may only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Advances in DNA technology and the growing popularity of in-home DNA tests such as those offered through Ancestry.com and 23andMe make it both easier and more inexpensive than ever for people to discover their ancestries and locate biological relatives. The idea that children conceived using donor sperm or eggs could learn the donors’ identities from their own homes wasn’t something anyone thought possible when fertility treatments began.
The Surrogacy Law Center will watch for and share updates on these cases as they are available. To learn more about how we work with clients and the services we offer, contact us today.