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Vermont Fertility Doctor John Coates III Accused Of Using Own Sperm To Impregnate Woman More Than 40 Years Ago

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A 41-year-old woman who used DNA testing to learn more about her genealogy received a devastating result. She found out who her biological father really is.

Fertility Doctor Used Own Sperm To Inseminate Patient

Barbara Gordon learned that her biological father was John Coates III, a fertility doctor whose practice was located at Central Vermont Hospital, the former name of CVMC.

Coates was her parents' OB-GYN more than 40 years ago

The genetic test results suggest that the doctor switched out the sperm samples donated by a medical student and substituted his own to impregnate Gordon's mother.

This prompted Gordon's parents, Peter and Cheryl Rousseau, to file a civil lawsuit against Coates and the fertility clinic.

Sperm Switch Not Accidental

"This could not have been done accidentally," the couple's lawyer, Jerry O'Neill, said.

The couple wanted to have a child together after they married in 1974. They had to rely on artificial insemination though because Peter has undergone vasectomy, a procedure that he was told was irreversible.

The decision was to use the sperm of an unnamed medical student whose physical features resembled Peter's, but the doctor allegedly used his own sperm.

The insemination was successful. Cheryl learned she was pregnant in May 1977 and gave birth to Barbara in December that year.

O'Neill said that Coates made a point to be close during pregnancy. The doctor also made sure he did the delivery of the baby himself as opposed to somebody else in his practice.

"He made certain he was there," O'Neill said.

Surprise Finding

Barbara used sites such as Ancestry.com and 23andme.com to find her genetic background and learn more about her health and background. The news that her biological father was her parent's fertility doctor was a complete news for the family.

"It was completely news to them," O'Neill, said. "They had no expectation that this would turn up when their daughter did the research with respect to it."

This is not the first time a fertility doctor faced charges for using own sperm to inseminate patients.

In 2015, clients of fertility specialist Donald Cline also complained the doctor used his own sperm to impregnate them.

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