(CNN) — More than 40 years after a couple sought the help of a Boston, Massachusetts, fertility specialist, their daughter discovered through a purchased DNA kit that the doctor is her biological father, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts.
The suit alleges Dr. Merle Berger secretly used his own sperm to inseminate the mother, Sarah Depoian, in 1980.
“This is an extreme violation,” Depoian said in a statement released by her attorney, Adam Wolf [of Peiffer Wolf]. “I am still struggling to process it. I trusted Dr. Berger fully. We thought he would act responsibly and ethically. I will never fully recover from his violation of me.”
At the time, Depoian was told by Dr. Berger — one of the founders of Boston IVF and a former Harvard Medical School professor — that the sperm used in the insemination would be from a medical resident “who resembled her husband” and “whom she did not know,” according to the complaint.
But instead, Dr. Berger used his own sperm to inseminate Depoian, the complaint alleges.
“Dr. Berger secretly inserted his own sperm into his patient, Sarah Depoian. He did so without her consent and against her wishes,” Depoian’s attorney Wolf said in a news release.
Depoian’s daughter Carolyn found out Dr. Berger was her father after she purchased DNA kits last year from Ancestry.com and 23andMe, according to court documents.
The results showed that she was related to Dr. Berger’s granddaughter and Dr. Berger’s second cousin, the lawsuit alleged. She later pieced it all together after talking to “one of her newfound relatives,” the complaint alleged.
“To say I experienced shock when I figured this out would be an extreme understatement,” Carolyn said in the statement. “It feels like reality has shifted. I just want to say how proud I am of my mom for speaking out, and I’m honored to stand by her side.”
After learning what had happened, Depoian reached out through her attorney to Dr. Berger, who didn’t deny that she consented only to insemination with a donor’s sperm who didn’t know her, and whom she didn’t know, according to the complaint.
Full Story: CNN December 14 2023