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Published On: Sun, Apr 8th, 2018

Washington State woman, Kelli Rowlette, sues Idaho fertility doctor Gerald Mortimer, after Ancestry says he is her dad

A 36-year-old woman is suing a retired Idaho fertility doctor after discovering via an Ancestry.com DNA test that he allegedly used his own sperm to impregnate her mother.

Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer photo/ Facebook

Kelli Rowlette, of Washington state, sent off her genetic sample to the popular genealogy website last year but assumed there had been a mistake when the DNA did not match that of her own father.

Ancestry.com had predicted a parent-child relationship between Rowlette and a reproductive specialist 500 miles away named Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer.

Dr Mortimer, who has since retired, apparently used his own semen to impregnate her mother and she has now filed a lawsuit accusing him of medical negligence, battery and fraud.

Around 1979, Sally Ashby and her then-husband Howard Fowler decided to seek medical assistance when they couldn’t conceive a child.

Mortimer told the couple that Fowler had a low sperm count and that Ashby’s uterus was tipped towards her spine. He proposed artificial insemination, saying he would use a mix of Fowler’s sperm and that of an anonymous donor.

The couple were asked to choose a few desired characteristics of the donor and specified that they wanted someone who resembled Fowler in some ways, over six feet tall, brown hair, blue eyes, and college-educated.

Mortimer soon told them that he had found a match, and Sally Ashby became pregnant through artificial insemination in the summer of 1980.

That donor appears to have been Mortimer.
“Dr Mortimer knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms Ashby or Mr Fowler,” the lawsuit says. “Dr Mortimer fraudulently and knowingly concealed his use of his own genetic material in the procedure.”

The lawsuit states that she received a notification from Ancestry.com last July informing her she had a DNA match.

She initially believed the results were flawed and was “disappointed” with them, according to the complaint.

Rowlette’s parents recognized the doctor’s name when their daughter relayed the results and were devastated by the news.

The lawsuit states they “painfully labored” over whether to tell Rowlette.

gavel court scales justice ruling

photo via Pixabay user Succo

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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