A fertility doctor and former Harvard Medical School professor, Dr. Merle Berger, has been accused by one of his agelong patients, Sarah Depoian, 73, of using his sperm to impregnate her without consent.
Depoian said she and her husband first went to see the fertility doctor in 1979 to discuss intrauterine insemination, adding that Berger told her the sperm would come from an anonymous donor “who resembled her husband, who did not know her, and whom she did not know.”
The process, according to a lawsuit reported by Sky News on Thursday, noted that Depoian said a home DNA test suggested otherwise.
The female patient lamented that Berger had betrayed the trust she and her husband had in him, saying, “We fully trusted Dr. Berger. It’s hard to imagine not trusting your own doctor.”
“We never dreamt he would abuse his position of trust and perpetrate this extreme violation. I am struggling to process it,” Depoian added.
The report had it that Berger is the founder of one of the largest fertility clinics, in Boston, United States.
PUNCH Online reports that intrauterine insemination is an artificial procedure used to treat infertility issues by increasing a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
IUI involves placing specially prepared sperm directly in the uterus (womb) in which a baby develops.
The fertility procedure carried out by Berger resulted in the birth of Carolyn Bester, Depoian’s daughter, who was born in January 1981.
Bester had conducted a home DNA test earlier this year and discovered that Berger was her biological father, according to the lawsuit.
Depoian’s lawyer, Adam Wolf, described Berger’s “heinous and intentional misconduct” as “unethical, unacceptable and unlawful.”
Reacting, the erstwhile medical professor’s lawyer, Ian Pinta, opined that the case has “no legal or factual merit.”
He said, “The allegations concern events from over 40 years ago, in the early days of artificial insemination.
“The allegations, which have changed repeatedly in the six months since the plaintiff’s attorney first contacted Dr. Berger, have no legal or factual merit, and will be disproven in court.”
Pinta added that Berger – a pioneer in the medical fertility field with five decades of practice, has helped several families fulfill their dreams of having children.