BURLINGTON, VT (WCAX/CNN) – A Florida couple is seeking damages from a Vermont gynecologist after genetic tests on their 41-year-old daughter reportedly pointed to the doctor being her father, rather than the agreed upon sperm donor.
Cheryl and Peter Rousseau claim that in 1977, Dr. John Boyd Coates III used his own genetic material instead of the agreed upon donor, an unnamed medical student who resembled Peter Rousseau, to artificially inseminate Cheryl Rousseau.
“This could not have been done accidentally,” said the couple’s lawyer Jerry O’Neill.
The Rousseaus discovered the reported connection to Coates when their 41-year-old daughter wanted to find her genetic background and learn more about her health and history through websites like Ancestry.com and 23 and Me.
“It was completely news to them. They had no expectation that this would turn up when their daughter did the research with respect to it,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill says Coates maintained a professional relationship with the Rousseaus but made a point to be close during the pregnancy.
“He made sure that he did the delivery of the child himself, as opposed to someone else in his practice. He made certain he was there,” O’Neill said.
The lawsuit is seeking damages from Coates and Central Vermont Hospital, where the doctor worked at the time.
“It’s fraud, and it’s a question of inserting genetic material into a woman, not of an anonymous donor but rather of the physician who is engaging in the conduct itself,” O’Neill said.
The lawyer says the Rousseaus may never have known about the alleged issue if their daughter hadn’t decided to have genetic testing done.
Neither Coates nor his lawyer has responded to the lawsuit’s allegations.