A former Idaho Falls gynecologist who is being sued for using his own sperm to impregnate patients receiving fertility treatments has admitted to the accusation in a December deposition.
According to a transcript from the deposition, Gerald Mortimer told the plaintiff’s attorney he had used his sperm to impregnate the plaintiff and at least one other woman.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2018 by Sally Ashby, who was a patient of Mortimer’s in 1979. Mortimer had told Ashby and her then-husband Howard Fowler that he was using a mixture of Fowler’s sperm and a donor’s to impregnate her.
In July 2017, Kelli Rowlette, Ashby’s daughter, discovered she was biologically Mortimer’s daughter after submitting her DNA to Ancestry.com.
In the December deposition, Attorney Shea Meehan of Walker Heye Meehan & Eisinger asked Mortimer if he had ever used his own sperm for patients unable to have children.
“To your knowledge, were you ever a sperm donor for anyone who was not your patient?” Meehan asked.
“I don’t — I don’t think so,” Mortimer replied.
“Okay. So all of the — and I’m just going to use your term for now — all of the sperm donations you made were to impregnate people who were your patients, correct?”
The lawsuit accuses Mortimer of medical negligence, failure to obtain informed consent, fraud, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls, where Mortimer worked at the time, also is a defendant in the lawsuit.
Mortimer says he used his semen at least twice but no more than 10 times to artificially impregnate patients. He said he would use his own sperm when a third party sample was unavailable.
The family filed a motion for summary judgment based on Mortimer’s statements. Mortimer and his attorneys filed a response in July, agreeing that summary judgment should be made to some of the plaintiff’s allegations, but not others. The next court date has not been set.