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DNA test sparks investigation into sperm donor clinic’s history

A San Antonio, Texas, family was hoping to trace their family roots when they accidentally discovered issues with their 21-year-daughter's DNA using a widely available DNA test. On April 24, the University of Utah issued a statement claiming that a worker at a now-defunct sperm donation clinic somehow fathered the 21-year-old woman. It is unknown whether the mix-up was accidental or intentional, and a group of doctors and medical ethicists at the university don't seem to be in a hurry to find out.

The sperm donation facility has been closed since 1998, but the university admits that it once shared a close affiliation with the private office during the time that the biological father worked there between 1988 and 1993. That man died from complications of alcoholism in 1999, but the university says that it will adopt a wait-and-see approach when it comes to alerting the 1500 or more couples who used the facility during the deceased donor's tenure. It is the university's position that actively seeking out families to inform them of the potential paternity could cause more harm than good.

Instead, the university has set up a hotline and website for families who might have been affected to contact them. So far, only five people have undergone paternity testing, and during that process, they discovered that the child's father was not the sperm donor they had chosen, although it was not the deceased man at the center of this case.

This case presents a host of issues surrounding the topic of paternity. If you had business with a sperm donation clinic affiliated with the University of Utah during the time in question, it might be a good idea to consult with a legal professional who specializes in this particular component of family law. For example, you may want to know if you have a civil cause of action to sue the clinic if donated sperm was used to fertilize your egg in a manner inconsistent with your agreement with the clinic. Additionally, you may want to know if there are legal means to determine if your sperm was used to produce children who may be alive today. Both are excellent questions to put to someone knowledgeable in the field.

Source: Dallas Fort Worth CBS local, "Texas Family At Center Of Convicted Felon Sperm Mix-Up Mystery" No author given, Apr. 24, 2014

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