Imagine having a child who your husband didn’t father and not learning about the “switch” until 21 years later.
That is what happened to Pamela Branum, the San Antonio woman whose discovery set off an investigation into the Utah Fertility Clinic’s methods.
A clinic employee named Thomas Lippert, who worked at the Reproductive Medical Technologies, Inc. clinic, is the biological father of Branum’s child, and he is being accused of switching his samples with the not only Branum’s husband’s sperm, but others as well.
Lippert was an employee from around 1988 to 1993. The Branum’s only found out their 21 year old daughter was his after a suspicion was confirmed through DNA testing. The mother of the 21-year-old woman, has said she and her husband discovered a genetic mismatch in their daughter and were able to trace her lineage to the now-deceased fertility clinic worker, Thomas Ray Lippert.
After this news broke, a hotline set-up was necessary to field the calls at the University of Utah, which so far has received 17 calls from people claiming to be suspicious their child was illicitly fathered by Lippert as well, but spokeswoman Kathy Wilets said only one of those calls was deemed worthy of a follow-up investigation.
Unfortunately nobody can attest to or was witness to the crime because there is no proof that Lippert switched the sperm. The suspect is of no help, he passed away in 1999.
University officials say they’re stumped because the mix-up happened in 1991, and the clinic shut down some time in the 1990s.
But the university said there simply isn’t much information to hinge an investigation on, as the clinic closed in 1998 and Lippert died in 1999. Ronald Urry, who ran the clinic, died years ago and investigators have been unable to find documents related to Lippert’s employment.
Lippert, obviously a demented man, pleaded guilty in 1975 to kidnapping after holding a Purdue University student captive, trying to make her love him by administering electroshock treatments and keeping her in a box. He served two years in prison.
The university says that, while practices were not then in place, it now conducts a criminal background check on all employees involved in patient care.
The daughter who has discovered this life changing fact must be reeling – as she put it:
“It was hard at first, to think, ‘Who am I?'” the family’s daughter told CBS affiliate KUTV. “I thought I was this person (of) my mom and my dad. Now, my dad is not my biological father. Who am I?”
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