A Utah woman suspects that a convicted felon not only fathered her own daughter but other children by using his position at an artificial insemination facility to switch his sperm out for that of the intended donors, KUTV-TV reported.
“I felt my stomach just drop,” the woman, identified as “Paula” to protect her privacy, told KUTV. “When I brought my daughter and my husband’s DNA up next to one another, that’s when it said they didn’t share any DNA at all.”
The woman and her husband, identified as “Jeff,” went to a local laboratory, Reproductive Medical Technologies, Inc. (RMTI) just over 20 years ago when they had problems conceiving a child. Their daughter, identified as “Ashley,” was born in 1992. The facility, owned in part by three part-time faculty members at the University of Utah, closed six years later.
Paula told KUTV that she came across the information after using a home genealogy kit to trace their family history. A subsequent search on her part revealed that the sperm came from an RMTI employee, Thomas R. Lippert. She said she remembered seeing Lippert there, and that he kept pictures of babies at his station at the front desk. Lippert worked at RMTI between 1986 and 1995, and died in 1997. But in the midst of her search, a relative informed Paula that Lippert was also her cousin.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this was not an accident, this was intentional,’” she said to KUTV. “All those photos of the babies that he was so proud of. I thought, ‘How many of those are his biological children?’”
“Although some may feel that it is preferable not to know if Mr. Lippert is the biological father of your child, we believe the knowledge of biological heritage is essential to avoid half-siblings who may be living in the same communities potentially engaging in romantic relationships, as well as for family medical history,” the website states.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Lippert was convicted in 1974 of kidnapping one woman and attempting to kidnap two others as part of what he called “The Love Experiment.” Lippert locked his victim inside a “black booth” and subjected her to electroshock behavior modification techniques to force her to fall in love with him. He served two years of a six-year conviction.
Lippert’s widow, Jean Lippert, told the Tribune he often bragged about being a frequent sperm donor.
“I think, because Tom didn’t have any kids, he wanted to have a lot of kids out there,” Jean Lippert told the Tribune. “Maybe he switched some samples so he could have more of his kids in the world.”
The university released a statement saying Lippert also worked there on a part-time basis between 1988 and 1994, and that it has been investigating RMTI since April 2013. The university also stated that while “no remaining records” exist to document Paula’s claim, it would provide free genetic testing for former RMTI clients who were treated there during the same time period.
Watch KUTV’s report on the apparent sperm switch, as aired on Wednesday, below.