By Jonathon Van Maren
In 2011, a ground-breaking film titled Anonymous Father’s Day was released, detailing the struggles of thousands of people seeking to discover their genetic origins. Conceived through artificial insemination with donor semen from sperm banks, the documentary traces the stories of men and women attempting to identify their biological fathers. It is based largely on a study on the subject called “My Daddy’s Name is Donor.”
In recent years, there has been an increase in stories about fertility doctors who have artificially inseminated women with their own sperm. USA Today, for example, reported this month on the story of Dr. Martin Greenberg, who worked in New York City in the 1980s and secretly used his own semen while artificially inseminating women. As people increasingly seek out their origins using DNA tests such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, they are making unexpected discoveries.
In response, the biological children of these fertility doctors are demanding regulation and reform. Some doctors have been sued. Six states, including Indiana, Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida have passed laws against “fertility fraud.” Other states are contemplating doing the same. The reproductive technology industry sprung up quickly and spread fast — and not until DNA tests became affordable and widely available did it become clear how many physicians were acting unethically, and with bizarre results.