The popularity of home administered DNA tests—by companies like Ancestry.com and 23 and Me—has lead to people finding out more about their roots.
But not all of the surprises have been good ones.
Morgan Hellquist of Genesco, New York discovered multiple half-siblings after performing a home DNA test. The woman's parents had used what they thought was an anonymous sperm donor.
After some investigation, it turned out the family's fertility doctor used his own sperm.
Dr. Morris Wortman runs a fertility and women's reproductive health clinic, The Center for Menstrual Disorders, which the woman's parents used from 1983 - 1985 to conceive. Morgan Hellquist had sought her own treatment from Wortman from 2012 - 2021.
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Hellquist filed a lawsuit in response to the revelation Wortman is her biological father.
According to the plaintiff, Wortman claimed her parent's sperm donor was a University of Rochester medical student with a specific ethnic background and no history of health issues. In the late 1990s, she asked Wortman's practice for more information about her biological father, but the doctor claimed he hadn't kept records.
Hellquist turned to home DNA testing after the death of the father who raised her in 2016. She discovered her ethnicity was not what her parents had been told.
As a result of her DNA testing, Hellquist discovered six half-siblings—all conceived through artificial insemination—from 1981 - 1985.
After several awkward interactions with Wortman and his current wife, Hellquist began to suspect he was her father. One of her half-siblings confirmed this by contacting Wortman's acknowledged daughter from his first marriage, who agreed to undergo DNA testing.
The results showed a 99.99999% chance Wortman's daughter is also their half-sister.
The lawsuit alleges medical malpractice by Wortman and several employees at his clinic, claiming Wortman knowingly used his own sperm to inseminate the plaintiff's mother.
He then later treated his biological daughter, Morgan Hellquist, for nine years.
He performed numerous pelvic examinations, transvaginal ultrasounds and IUC placements under sedation. Hellquist's lawsuit states "no reasonable woman" would consent to Wortman's treatment if they knew he was their biological father.
Hellquist is suing for multiple transgressions by Wortman and his practice, including medical malpractice, lack of informed consent, negligence, fraud and battery.