Former Harvard Professor Accused of Using His Sperm in IVF Procedure Without Consent

 Former Harvard Professor Accused of Using His Sperm in IVF Procedure Without Consent


A former professor at Harvard Medical School and founder of a fertility clinic is facing allegations of secretly using his sperm to impregnate a patient over 40 years ago, as revealed in a recent lawsuit.

Sarah Depoian, now 73, and her husband sought fertility treatment at Boston IVF Fertility Clinic in 1980. According to court documents filed in the US District Court District of Massachusetts on Wednesday, Depoian claims that Dr. Merle Berger assured her that the sperm would come from an anonymous donor, and told WCVB

The revelation came to light when Ms. Depoian’s daughter, Carolyn Bester, born in January 1981, discovered through DNA kits purchased on and 23andMe earlier this year that Dr. Berger was her biological father.

In a statement released through her lawyer Peiffer Wolf, Ms. Depoian expressed her shock and betrayal, stating, “I trusted Dr. Berger fully. We thought he would act responsibly and ethically. I will never fully recover from his violation of me”.

Attorney Adam Wolf, representing Ms. Depoian, described the use of Dr. Berger’s sperm as an “extreme violation” and accused the fertility doctor of acting “without her consent and against her wishes,” calling it a “horrific act” and emphasizing its unethical, unacceptable, and illegal nature.

In response, Dr. Berger’s attorney, Ian Pinta, stated that the allegations had “no legal or factual merit.” He highlighted Dr. Berger’s contributions as a pioneer in the medical fertility field who assisted thousands of families over five decades of service.

The lawsuit contends that Ms. Depoian was led to believe that the sperm used in the procedure would come from a patient resembling her husband, someone she did not know. DNA testing later revealed Ms. Bester’s relationship to Dr. Berger’s granddaughter and second cousin.

Ms. Bester, residing in New Jersey, expressed her shock at the revelation, emphasizing the vulnerability of her mother during the fertility treatment. Harvard Medical School distanced itself from the allegations, stating that Dr. Berger’s primary employment was at affiliated hospitals not owned or operated by the school.

This case joins a series of high-profile incidents involving fertility doctors using their sperm without patients’ knowledge. Ms. Depoian is seeking damages for the injuries caused by these alleged actions.

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