ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An upstate New York doctor is accused of using his own sperm to inseminate a woman after telling the prospective parents that the sperm would come from a separate donor, a new lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges Dr. Morris Wortman, a gynecologist in Rochester, told at least one patient he was using a sperm donor, and instead used his his own sperm to inseminate.
The lawsuit was filed after a woman discovered multiple half siblings through over-the-counter DNA testing kits.
According to the lawsuit, Wortman inseminated at least one woman through his Rochester-based private fertility practice, The Center for Menstrual Disorders. The practice is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
According to the plaintiff, Wortman told her parents that the sperm donor was a University of Rochester medical student with a specific ethnic background and no history of health issues. The lawsuit says Wortman required a $50 payment, made out to him, for each insemination attempt.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff’s parents paid Wortman $50 two to three times a month from late 1983 through January 1985. After multiple unsuccessful insemination attempts, the plaintiff’s mother became pregnant with her.
The lawsuit says that Wortman was highly regarded within the plaintiff’s family for helping achieve the “miracle” of pregnancy after the plaintiff’s father suffered an injury that caused fertility issues.
According to the lawsuit, the woman sought the identity of her biological father after the death of her caregiving father in 2016. It says that when the woman reached out to Wortman about the identify of her biological father, the doctor said he didn’t keep the records.
After that, the lawsuit says the woman received results from a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that revealed her ethnicity, and the existence of multiple half siblings, both of which were donor-conceived in 1984 and 1985, respectively.
The plaintiff would later discover three more half siblings, all donor conceived, and born between 1983 and 1985.
The lawsuit says the woman was initially feeling positive about learning of half siblings, but it later harmed her emotional and physical health.
“With each half new sibling discovery, plaintiff experienced increased anxiety, migraine headaches, shock and confusion, feelings of despair, stress and other physical manifestations of continuing to learn that her donor father had been a serial sperm donor,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff also feared that there were other half-siblings who would continue to show up in her life.”
The lawsuit says that the woman would later discover, in 2020, that she had a sixth half-sibling, another brother who was donor-conceived in 1981.
The lawsuit says the plaintiff would later endure her own gynecological issues — after giving birth to two children of her own in 2008 and 2011 — including irregular menstrual bleeding, and she sought out Wortman for treatment.
The lawsuit alleges medical malpractice against Wortman and several employees at the facility, claiming that Wortman knowingly implanted his own sperm in the plaintiff’s mother and later treated her from 2012 through 2021, including conducting numerous pelvic examinations, transvaginal ultrasounds, and IUC (intrauterine contraception) placements under sedation.
According to the lawsuit, “no reasonable woman” would have consented to Wortman’s actions if they knew he was their biological father.
The lawsuit says Wortman would ask her personal questions during her treatment visits to the facility, including earlier this year when Wortman asked her to take off her mask she wore for COVID-19 protocols, telling her she looked better without her mask. The lawsuit says he would also ask personal questions like her children’s names, her husband’s name, and what her husband did for work.
According to the lawsuit, Wortman also discussed his personal experiences as a child to the woman when they were in his office, at one point chuckling and saying aloud to her, “You’re a really good kid, such a good kid.” According to the lawsuit, it was during this April 2021 visit that the woman believed the doctor could be her biological father.
During that same visit, according to the lawsuit, Wortman’s wife came into the examination room when the doctor was with the woman, which was “very unusual and had never happened before.” The lawsuit states that the doctor’s wife came into the room so she could get a close look at the woman’s physical resemblance because Wortman and his wife knew he was the plaintiff’s biological father.
In May 2021, the woman and one of her half brothers were in communication with Wortman’s daughter from his first marriage. According to the lawsuit, she agreed to test her own siblingship and learned that the plaintiff’s half brother had a 99.99% probability of siblingship with Wortman’s daughter. The lawsuit says this was confirmed through the DNA Diagnostics Center.
The lawsuit says as a result of Wortman’s actions, the woman has suffered severe and permanent personal injuries, including “significant emotional and psychological trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, monetary damages, conscious pain and suffering, including pain and suffering akin to that experienced by survivors of sexual abuse and incest which is realized or remembered later in life, and she will continue to suffer these damages for the rest of her life.”
According to the lawsuit, Wortman is “liable for all harm caused to plaintiff, including “past and future economic damages, including past out of pocket medical expenses paid to him,” and “future expenses related to plaintiff’s mental health treatment and care suffered as a result of being defrauded.”
Attorneys for the plaintiff, and the defendant have not immediately returned a request for comment.