Utah Fertility Clinic Accused In Tampering

Utah Fertility Clinic: Convicted Felon Swapped Sperm, Fathered A Child

A Utah fertility clinic worker reportedly swapped sperm samples and fathered at least one child. The clinic, which is associated with the University of Utah, closed in the 1990s. However, at least one former patient traced their daughter’s paternity to convicted felon Thomas Ray Lippert.

In the late 1970s, Lippert was accused of kidnapping a female student from Purdue University. He admitted using the student as a subject in a “love experiment,” which included electroshock therapy. Lippert expected the controversial therapy to modify the student’s behavior and feelings.

Lippert was eventually arrested on numerous criminal charges. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced to two years in prison. Despite his criminal past, he was hired to work at the Utah fertility clinic in 1988.

Although the university did not own Reproductive Medical Technologies, it was owned by members of the faculty and staff. As reported by Boston Herald, university officials admit there is “credible evidence” that sperm samples were either mislabeled or intentionally swapped.

Pamela Branum and her husband sought the clinic’s services in 1991. They were told their child would be conceived using Pamela’s egg and her husband’s sperm. Nearly two decades, later the family was attempting to trace their lineage via DNA tests. Unfortunately, the tests revealed Pamela’s husband is not the biological father of the couple’s 21-year-old daughter.

Further testing confirmed Thomas Ray Lippert is the woman’s biological father.

As the clinic is now closed, there are no records available. University spokeswoman Kathy Wilets said “there is very little information… we believe it is impossible to determine exactly what happened.”

Lippert passed away in 1999 and cannot be questioned about his activities while employed by the clinic. However, a university representative confirmed he worked at the clinic between 1988 and the mid 1990s.

ABC News reports the University of Utah is offering free paternity testing to patients who received services at the Utah fertility clinic between 1988 and mid 1990s.

Utah Fertility Clinic Suspect