A fertility doctor accused of inseminating a patient with his own sperm has surrendered his medical licence after a ruling by medical regulators.
The move comes after a former patient discovered how, in 2009, Christopher Herndon had, unbeknown to her, fathered her second child when she was a patient at his clinic in California, in the USA.
The scandal in which the medic used his own sperm instead of the donor she had paid for began to emerge when the woman had her sons’ DNA tested, expecting them to have the same DNA as they had the same donor as a father. Instead, she was shocked to learn they had different fathers.
She had used sperm from Herndon’s clinic to create her first child and had only gone back so her boys could have the same donor as the father.
When she had discovered that there was a problem, she lodged her sons’ details on a DNA-tracking site and received a request from someone claiming a “familial connection”.
She hired a private investigator who apparently uncovered that the ‘familial connection’ with the same DNA as her child was her fertility doctor’s sibling.
The woman then reported Herndon to the Washington Medical Commission, as he had since been working in the state of Washington, which ruled that the doctor should surrender his medical licence.
Herndon had worked at the University of Washington Medicine Center Reproductive Care since 2017.
He was also an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington until he resigned in September, according to local media.
Now clinic heads in Washington are contacting all Herndon’s former patients to offer advice and DNA testing.
The University of Washington told local media: “Based on what we know at this time, the safeguards in place at UW Medicine’s medical centers should prevent an incident like the one alleged to have occurred in California in 2009.
“Even though we currently have no evidence of impropriety at UW Medicine, we imagine that this news may be unsettling for some of our patients.
“As a result, we proactively reached out to patients this past weekend based upon their visit type with former physician Dr. Chris Herndon.
“We are offering Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) patients DNA testing if desired, free of charge.”
There is reportedly no legislation in place locally that makes fertility fraud a crime.
Local media reported that a state bill that would make fertility fraud a criminal offence has failed in the last four legislative sessions.