Utah Fertility Clinic Sperm Swapping Probe Getting Rusty

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 07:41 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Officials fear they may not be able to fully investigate the Utah fertility clinic where a former employee allegedly swapped donor sperm samples with his own more than two decades ago.

That's because Reproductive Medical Technologies, which was operated by the University of Utah, closed in 1992 and left no records behind. Tom Lippert, the employee at the center of the scandal, died in 1999.

"Unfortunately, the reality of this very disturbing situation is that there is very little information with which to make any definitive conclusions," Kathy Wilets, a spokeswoman for the University of Utah's health sciences division, told The Associated Press in a statement.

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The story unfolded last year when Pam Branum and her husband discovered a genetic mismatch in their 21-year-old daughter that led to genetic testing and an investigation of her true heritage. With help from some of Lippert's family members, it was revealed that he was actually the girl's biological father.

Lippert, who reportedly started working at the clinic as a medical technologist in 1988, was also a convicted felon. He served two years in prison for a 1975 crime in which he kidnapped a college student and kept her in a box for three weeks to perform electroshock therapy on her, according to KDVR.com.

Though the fertility clinic has been closed for more than 20 years, the University of Utah established a hotline to field calls about possible semen sample tampering. So far, 17 possible victims have called in, the AP reported. The school is also offering free paternity testing to any of the Utah fertility clinic's clients.

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