In Vitro Nightmare: Couple does DNA test, discovers father isn’t match to daughter

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-10 16:39:00-05

Salt Lake City, UT (KUTV) – A couple who underwent artificial insemination at a Utah clinic finds out the husband’s sperm had been switched with someone else’s.

After a difficult search, the couple discovered who their daughter’s biological dad was – that part of the story is even more jaw dropping.

The family who we will call Paula, Jeff and Ashley thought it would be fun to do DNA testing, but when Paula got the results she was shocked, ” I felt my stomach just drop,” says Paula, who, when she opened the results on her computer found that her husband did not have any DNA matches with the couple’s daughter, “when I called my daughter and my husband’s DNA up next to one another they didn’t share any DNA at all, and I just thought to myself, ‘oh my god,'” says Paula, “I was shaking,” she says as she told her husband the terrible news. “I said Jeff, you’re not going to believe this it’s showing that you and Ashley are not related.”

The couple began thinking the same thing. Back in the early 90’s the pair was having trouble conceiving, so they went to Reproductive Medical Technologies, a clinic in Midvale that is associated with the University of Utah.

In 1992 Ashley, now 21, was born, but with the recent revelations, the couple began to ask how this could happen. They feared that perhaps there was a mix up at the clinic.

Paula, using the genealogy she had acquired, tracked down a cousin of Ashley’s biological father, who told her that, Thomas R. Lippert, her cousin, had worked at the very clinic where Paula had been inseminated. “I remember that he was at the front desk a lot of the time,” recalls Paula who says the couple tried on several occasions to get pregnant, She says Lippert who was a part-time employee of the university from 1988 to 1994, had a stack of baby pictures behind his desk, “he seemed friendly and was very proud of all those pictures almost seemed like a brag board up there, those where the children that he had helped people have.” says Paula.

Lippert’s mother agreed to give a DNA sample and the result confirmed that Lippert was indeed Ashley’s father. The question now is how all of this happened, Paula suspects that Lippert for some reason may have switched his sperm sample with her husband’s. “I just thought, ‘oh my gosh,’ this was not an accident, this was intentional. All those photos of the babies that he was so proud of I thought, ‘oh my god how many of those are his biological children?'” says Paula.

This story only gets more stunningly bizarre, as the couple began digging into Lippert’s background. They discovered, that prior to coming to work for the clinic, Lippert had served two years in prison for a high profile kidnapping, where he is accused of snatching up a college co-ed and holding her for three weeks and conducting “love experiments”, that included locking her in a black box and using electroshock therapy on her to make her “fall in love with him.”

The University of Utah is responding to the story and offered 2News the following statement; here it is in its entirety:

“Since April 2013, the University of Utah has been investigating credible information regarding the possible mislabeling or tampering of a semen sample at RMTI (Reproductive Medical Technologies, Inc.), a private andrology lab owned by a University faculty member (now deceased). The facility was a private laboratory located in Midvale, Utah. While not owned or operated by the University, the University contracted with RMTI for specimen preparation and semen analysis. Additionally, RMTI prepared semen samples for private physician offices throughout the community, not University physicians.

Through genetic testing, a woman who received artificial insemination (AI) in 1991 discovered the biological father of her child was not her husband, as she had assumed. She traced the genetics of her child to a man who was a former employee of the now-defunct RMTI, which may have prepared the AI sample. The man in question was also a part-time employee of the University from 1988-94.

There are no remaining records from RMTI to prove the claim and the man in question has been deceased since 1997. Consequently, it is unknown how this incident might have happened. In addition, there is no evidence to indicate this situation extends beyond the case in question.

We understand this information has been upsetting for the family and other clients of RMTI. We want to help alleviate this distress by providing professional genetic testing for RMTI clients who were treated between 1988 through 1994.

Concerned individuals should contact the University of Utah Andrology Lab at 801-587-5852.”