Couple sues gynecologist who used his own sperm to father their child four decades ago
A Florida couple has sued a Vermont-based gynecologist alleging he used his own sperm during an insemination procedure that resulted in him biologically fathering their child
A Vermont doctor is being sued by a Florida couple after he allegedly used his own semen during a decades-old artificial insemination procedure, WCAX reports.
Montpelier-based Dr. John Boyd Coates III had a case filed against him in federal court in Burlington this month over an incident dating back to 1977. Dr. Coates allegedly signed a contract with Cheryl Rousseau and Peter Rosseau for the former to artificially inseminate Cheryl using semen from an unidentified medical student who supposedly resembled Peter.
Jerry O'Neill, the lawyer representing the Rosseau family, said, "This could not have been done accidentally."
When the couple's 41-year-old daughter wanted to learn more about her health and background from her genetic history, she used websites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe, which allegedly pointed to Coates' ancestry. "It was completely news to them. They had no expectation that this would turn up when their daughter did the research with respect to it," O'Neill said.
Coates reportedly made it a point to be close during the pregnancy although he maintained a professional relationship with the couple. "He made sure that he did the delivery of the child himself as opposed to someone else in his practice. He made certain he was there," O'Neill added.
According to the lawsuit, the couple is seeking reparations and damages from Coates and Central Vermont Medical Center, where he allegedly worked at the time of the procedure. "It's fraud and it's a question of inserting genetic material in a woman — not of an anonymous donor but rather the physician who is engaging in the conduct itself," O'Neill said.
When asked if the family would have ever known about the situation if not for the genetic tests, O'Neill said, "Unless Dr. Coates contacted her and told her that he was, in fact, her genetic father, she would have never known."
Having said that, Dr. Coates, his lawyer, and Central Vermont Medical Center are yet to respond to the allegations in the lawsuit. This is not the first time when the perpetrator secretly fathered other children, according to the lawyer. "Around the country if you look at it there have been physicians who have found to put their own sperm in and created children. It's been done in a serial way. There are multiple children for whom this has been done," O'Neill said.
That said, O'Neill cannot think of a motive for the amoral insemination other than narcissism on the part of the doctor.