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Ex-Harvard professor Merle Berger accused of allegedly using his sperm to impregnate patient

Ex-Harvard professor Merle Berger accused of allegedly using his sperm to impregnate patient Photo: Fertility doctor faces accusations of secretly impregnating patient (GettyImages)

Sarah Depoian, 73, is suing Dr. Merle Berger, a former Harvard Medical School professor and fertility doctor, accusing him of using his sperm to impregnate her in 1979. The accusation came to light after a home DNA test conducted by Depoian's daughter revealed Dr. Berger as her biological father, according to Centralmaine.

Ms. Depoian and her husband sought Dr. Berger's help for intrauterine insemination 1979 at his fertility clinic in Boston. Dr. Berger assured them that the sperm used would come from an anonymous donor resembling her husband. The procedure was successful, and Ms. Depoian gave birth to her daughter, Carolyn Bester, in January 1981.

However, a recent home DNA test conducted by Ms. Bester indicated that Dr. Berger was her biological father, leading to the lawsuit. Ms. Depoian expressed her shock and betrayal, while her lawyer, Adam Wolf, condemned Dr. Berger's actions as unethical and unlawful.

Ex-Harvard professor Merle Berger accused of allegedly using his sperm to impregnate patient

Sarah Depoian and Carolyn Bester (Photo: Centralmaine)

Depoian alleges that Berger, self-described as a women's healthcare advocate, committed what her lawyer terms "medical rape" by not adhering to her request for an anonymous sperm donor. Depoian seeks triple damages, attorney's fees, costs, interest, and other compensation.

Dr. Berger's lawyer, Ian Pinta, has denied the allegations, claiming they lack legal and factual merit.

Ethical concerns

The background of the event involves the early days of artificial insemination, a time when regulations and oversight in fertility treatments were less stringent than today. The case against Berger is part of a larger pattern of similar accusations against fertility doctors, raising significant ethical and legal concerns in the medical community. The lawsuit against Dr. Berger highlights these historical practices and their long-lasting impact on patients and their families.