Maia Emmons-Boring has filed a lawsuit against a Colorado fertility doctor, claiming that he used his own sperm to impregnate her mother almost 40 years ago.
Emmons-Boring said that she realized the father she’d grown up with wasn’t her biological father after she received a message from a stranger in her Ancestry.com inbox.
“It looks like we’re close matches, so I’m assuming we’re half-siblings,” wrote the stranger. “My father was a sperm donor in Grand Junction, Colorado [Emmons-Boring’s hometown]. I’ve found three more half-sisters and a half-brother who’s [sic] parents also used the donor at the same clinic.”
Emmons-Boring thought the message was a scam at first and started to investigate the reliability of Ancestry’s DNA testing. After discovering that the message wasn’t a hoax, informed her younger sister, Tahnee Scott, and the two decided to talk to their mother about it.
“At first [our mom] said, ‘No,’ and then my dad, who is very quiet and reserved, he says — he kind of interrupted her — he said, ‘Yes, we used a sperm donor to conceive you and Tahnee,’” Emmons-Boring said. “Our world got turned upside down more or less,” Scott added.
Emmons-Boring’s mother, Cheryl Emmons, consulted with Dr. Paul Brennan Jones about helping her conceive because her husband recently had testicular cancer. Jones told her that he would use an anonymous sperm donor.
“[Jones] said there were medical students, you know, at St. Mary’s [Medical Center], and so, anyway, one thing led to another and we said, ‘OK,’” Emmons said.
The lawsuit claims that instead of using fresh sperm from an anonymous donor to inseminate Emmons, Dr. Jones used his own sperm to artificially inseminate her.
“I don’t deny it. I don’t admit it,” Jones told KUSA. When a reporter asked him if he fathered the children, he referred to the question as impertinent and said that he wasn’t going to answer it.
The lawsuit accuses Jones of negligence and fraud and seeks damages in civil court.
Although there aren’t currently any laws in Colorado that prohibit doctors from using their own sperm when inseminating a woman from an anonymous donor, Emmons-Boring plans to work with legislators to change the law.