A doctor is suing his medical school for $5.25 million (£4.28 million) after the sperm he donated was used to conceive at least 17 children without his knowledge.
Dr Bryce Cleary, 53, claims that he only agreed for the sperm to be used to produce five children when he gave it to Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) in the north-west of the United States 30 years ago.
He also claims that he only agreed for fertilisations to take place away from where he lived. But he fears some of the offspring may have mingled unknowingly with each other because some went to the same schools or churches, according to The Oregonian.
According to the lawsuit, Dr Cleary first learnt that his sperm had been used last year when two sisters contacted him. The women told him they had used Ancestry.com and information from the fertility clinic to find him.
Dr Cleary then used the website and found out he was a father to at least 17 new children. After he had made the donation in 1989, the doctor married and had three sons and adopted a daughter.
According to the lawsuit Dr Cleary found out that at least two of his offspring from the fertility treatment had potentially socialised with his children.
In a news conference his newly discovered daughter Allysen Allee, 25, who he was meeting for the first time, Dr Cleary said: “The idea that you can produce that many children from one donor and throw them all in the same region? There has got to be some reforms. I can’t control an industry, but I can sure stand up and say, ‘This isn’t cool.’”
Allysen said, “It feels like OHSU really didn’t take into consideration the fact that they were creating humans. They were reckless with this, and it feels like it was just money and numbers to them.”
Tamara Hargens-Bradley, spokeswoman for OHSU, said: “OHSU treats any allegation of misconduct with the gravity it deserves. In light of our patient privacy obligations and the confidentiality of protected health information, we cannot comment on this case.”
Dr Cleary donated the sperm in 1989 when he was a student at OHSU, however one of the doctor’s lawyers has said that fertility clinics in the U.S. are lightly regulated, with most of the legislation concerning privacy and the legal obligations of donors.
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