Ancestry.com DNA Test Reveals That Woman Was Fathered By Her Mother’s Fertility Doctor Launching Lawsuit

Kelli Rowlette's parents had no clue their fertility doctor had used his own sperm in the reproduction process.

Embryologist Rick Slifkin uses a microscope to view an embryo visible on a monitor.
Richard Drew / AP Images

Kelli Rowlette's parents had no clue their fertility doctor had used his own sperm in the reproduction process.

Kelli Rowlette had no idea what surprises awaited her when she sent in a simple saliva DNA test to Ancestry.com. When Rowlette, 36, got her results from Ancestry.com, she found out that her father was Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the fertility doctor her parents consulted when they had trouble getting pregnant. As a result, Rowlette has filed a lawsuit against Mortimer, alleging that he knowingly defrauded her now-divorced parents, Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler, by using his own sperm in the fertility process.

An Ancestry.com DNA Test Exposed Fertility Doctor Fraud

Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler were under the impression that a mixture of Fowler’s sperm and that of approved donors who matched Fowler’s physical description were used to inseminate Ashby when the couple struggled to conceive, reports the Daily Beast. When the Ancestry.com DNA test revealed that Rowlette’s father was Ashby’s fertility doctor, Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the family was stunned.

The legal complaint says that Dr. Mortimer knew that he was the father of Kelli Rowlette from the beginning and never told anyone.

“Dr. Mortimer knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms. Ashby or Mr. Fowler. Dr. Mortimer fraudulently and knowingly concealed his use of his own genetic material in the Procedure.”

According to the Daily Beast, Kelli Rowlette is suing retired Idaho Falls fertility doctor Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer for medical negligence, battery, and fraud.

Dr. Mortimer Swapped Out The Designated Sample With His Own Sperm

When Kelli Rowlette received the results from her Ancestry.com DNA test, she assumed that there had been a mix-up or that the results were flawed, as it claimed her biological father was Mortimer. According to the lawsuit, Rowlette’s parents were “devastated” by the results of the Ancestry.com DNA test and struggled with how to tell Rowlette that the results of the DNA were correct.

The final twist to the story was when Rowlette checked out her birth certificate and noticed that it was signed by Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the same name that appeared on her Ancestry.com DNA results. The lawsuit says that Rowlette was “horrified” and called her parents in a panic to discuss the revelation.

Kelli Rowlette and her parents are represented by Shea Meehan of Walker, Hey, Meehan and Eisinger in the fertility fraud case, reports Courthouse News. Rowlette’s parents, Ashby and Fowler, say that it was agreed that Fowler’s sperm would be mixed with that of a college-age donor, says the 14-page complaint.

“Dr. Mortimer represented that 85 [percent] of the mixture would be Mr. Fowler’s genetic material, while 15 [percent] would be genetic material from an anonymous donor of characteristics selected by Ms. Ashby and Mr. Fowler. Dr. Mortimer would then inseminate Ms. Ashby with the mixture.”

The plaintiffs say that Dr. Mortimer knowingly committed the fraud that was revealed by the Ancestry.com DNA test.

The Ancestry.com DNA test provides customers with likely genetic matches for those interested in genealogy.