Today, there is very little regulation over fertility clinics or the $6 billion fertility industry as a whole. That lack of regulation can lead to problems, as one former sperm donor has learned. Thirty years ago, Dr. Bryce Cleary, then a medical student in Oregon, was recruited as a sperm donor for the fertility clinic at Oregon Health and Science University. Dr. Cleary was told that his sperm would be used to father no more than five children and that none of the women who would receive his sperm donations would be from the Pacific Northwest.
When he had his DNA tested through Ancestry.com in 2018, Dr. Cleary was surprised to learn that the clinic apparently had not honored its promises to him. He learned he had at least 17 biological children, all born in the Pacific Northwest. While Dr. Cleary is upset about the clinic’s apparent misuse of his donated sperm, he has also raised very real questions about the potential problems that could come from the fact that there are now more than a dozen biological siblings in a relatively small area who don’t know they’re related to one another. “To flood a zone with a bunch of genetic material is completely irresponsible,” he said.
According to a CBS News article, Dr. Cleary has filed a lawsuit against the fertility clinic. The clinic issued a statement saying that it takes allegations of misconduct seriously. However, it declined to comment on the specifics of this case, citing patient privacy concerns.
At The Surrogacy Law Center, we are committed to helping protect the legal rights of people who want to use surrogacy or other assisted reproduction means to start or add to their families. To learn more, contact us!