The insurgence of at-home DNA testing has reportedly revealed a startling pattern of fertility doctors using their own sperm to impregnate their patients.
According to the Voice of San Diego, Arianna Huhn sought genetic testing for herself and her parents, leading her parents to reveal that they sought fertility treatment at the now-closed Fifth Avenue Medical Group in California.
At the time, Dr. Benjamin Fioric was believed to have sourced sperm from an anonymous medical intern to inseminate Huhn’s mother, Gail Fogelman. When Huhn submitted her DNA to Ancestry.com in 2017, she learned her mother’s former obstetrician was her biological father.
Speaking with the Voice of San Diego, Fioric confessed to misleading Fogelman about the origin of the sperm he inseminated her with. The doctor allegedly also claimed it was a one-time thing.
Huhn reportedly confronted Fioric in 2017 but he never explained why he did it. He told the news outlet that he never donated sperm to other clinic doctors to use on their patients.
However, years before the incident involving Huhn’s mother, he allegedly donated his sperm during his medical residency training in response to a call for healthy donors.
Fogelman said she’s dismayed by Fioric’s actions but she does not plan to seek legal action. She recounted being a patient at Fifth Avenue Medical Group and Fioric discouraging her from disclosing how her daughter was conceived, claiming the revelation could be traumatic.
“Now looking at it, it feels manipulative, and that it was done at the doctor’s benefit and not for ours,” she told Voices of San Diego.
“It’s very disappointing. We trust our doctors. I trusted him.”
The man who raised Huhn died several years ago. Huhn said learning the man who raised her was not her biological father explained why she long believed she did not resemble anyone else in her family.
Voices of San Diego noted that state law bars the misuse of embryos and sperm in assisted reproduction. Yet, the 1996 statute does not specifically address doctors and does not apply to incidents occurring before the law’s implementation — meaning Fioric will likely never face criminal charges.
Fioric is reportedly retired and living in New York.
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