A USA woman is suing a fertility doctor after discovering through an online ancestry website the man had secretly fathered her.
That's when Rowlette took an Ancestry.com DNA test and noticed that her results predicted a parent-child relationship with Mortimer.
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, who is now retired in Idaho, is believed to have delivered the baby when Ms Ashby gave birth nine months later. "Dr. Mortimer fraudulently and knowingly concealed his use of his own genetic material in the Procedure".
The family filed the lawsuit in Idaho last week, accusing both parties of medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract, according to NPR.
Kelli Rowlette, of Washington state, sent off her genetic sample to the popular genealogy website a year ago but assumed there had been a mistake when the DNA did not match that of her own father.
Ashby and Fowler went to the clinic back in 1979 when they were married to get help conceiving a child, according to East Idaho News. Dr Mortimer continued to treat Rowlette's mother until the family moved away to Washington.
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The parents were "devastated", and "struggled to cope with their own anguish and had difficulty contemplating the torment the discovery would cause their daughter when she found out", according to the lawsuit.
Kelli Rowlette and her parents are represented by Shea Meehan of Walker, Hey, Meehan and Eisinger in the fertility fraud case, reports Courthouse News. The couple agreed to try the procedure and selected a donor with certain preferred characteristics (brown hair, blue eyes, over six feet tall). The idea was that by doubling up the sperm donors, there would be a better chance of successful insemination, although the science surrounding this method shows decidedly mixed results. Dr Mortimer has not commented publicly on the case.
Ms Rowlette was born in 1981, and later, the couple had a son without any additional medical assistance.
Ms Rowlette initially dismissed the Ancestry.com test that determined Dr Mortimer was her father, but later found her birth certificate with his signature, the Daily Beast reported. She has filed a suit not only against Mortimer but his wife Linda McKinnon Mortimer and the practice itself.
As a result, "people may learn of unexpected connections" unless they choose to make their DNA match settings private.
"Based on what we know from what's been reported, and the knowledge of how our system works, it's possible that both biological mother and father both took the test, and that the child did as well, however without further details we can not speculate on individual cases", Melissa Garrett, a spokeswoman for Ancestry.com, wrote in an email.
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