Hiding in Plain Sight: Doctor-Donor Fertility Fraud

January 16, 2022
By Tiffany D. Gardner

Kim McMorries. Cecil Bryan Jacobson. Donald Cline. Morris Wortman. Quincy Fortier. These men all have at least two things in common. 

  1. They were fertility doctors. 
  1. They were accused of impregnating patients with their own sperm, without consent.

Unfortunately, they are not the only doctors accused of engaging in this practice.

When a doctor impregnates a patient with his own sperm without the patient’s consent, this is considered fertility fraud or, more specifically, doctor-donor fertility fraud. That a doctor would do this to a patient is shocking enough, but to make matters worse fertility fraud has not been criminalized or given a private right of action in most states. At least not yet.

As more instances of doctor-donor fraud come to light through commercial DNA testing, there are increasing efforts to pass legislation to address this ongoing problem. In 2019, following the advocacy of doctor-donor conceived activist Eve Wiley (whose biological father is Kim McMorries), Texas criminalized this type of fertility fraud. Indiana, Colorado, and Arizona have also enacted laws to address the issue. And although California has addressed fertility fraud through legislation, its law has been criticized as “lacking teeth” because there is no corresponding private right of action.

Instances of fertility fraud provide an extra layer of trauma and devastation to not only the impacted donor conceived people but also the former fertility patients (i.e., to the parents of donor conceived people). As the movement grows and more activists share their stories across the country, additional states will likely consider legislation in this area. U.S. Donor Conceived Council will support these efforts.

Top image by krakenimages on Unsplash