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A racially mixed couple from Connecticut are shocked because they recently found out that a complete stranger is the biological father of their twin girls. Now before this turns into a Maury Povich show special questioning the wife's fidelity, it seems like the father could be the fertility doctor that the couple went to for artificial insemination.
In a lawsuit filed back in 2005, the couple argued that Dr. Ben Ramaley used his own sperm to artificially inseminate the woman. The lawsuit was settled this week.
CBS News reports that the case was settled for an undisclosed amount of money and a confidentiality agreement was signed. As a result, the family and the doctor refuse to comment on the case. The question of the twin girls' paternity still hangs in the air.
The doctor claims that it was merely a mistake. During the lawsuit, he said he used someone else's sperm to inseminate the patient but not his own. The odd thing is that the doctor was not ordered to complete a paternity test. And what would cause the family to claim it was the doctor's sperm? The family tested the twins' DNA with the husband's DNA and it did not match up. This caused the family to file the lawsuit in the first place.
While the lawsuit was settled, an independent investigation was done by the Connecticut Dept. of Heath. Their investigation concluded that it was a simple mistake made on the part of the doctor.
The Connecticut Dept. of Health simply fined the doctor and allowed him to continue practicing medicine. However some individuals are concerned by what they feel is a lax punishment. CBS' legal analyst Lisa Bloom said: "A $10,000 fine is really a slap on the wrist to a doctor like this, and especially allowing him to have an unrestricted license, where he has unfettered access to other women in his community - that's very surprising."
This news is interesting because it brings up the importance of DNA testing. Since the doctor had serious allegations levied against him, this would cover a civil lawsuit and also a criminal one.
The civil lawsuit would have been a good place to have requested a paternity test. However, since they settled the lawsuit and had a gag order in place, the opportunity for DNA testing is gone. And why wouldn't the family want to know who the biological father of their twins is?
The second missed opportunity is when the Connecticut Dept. of Heath stepped in. They led an investigation of the doctor. However, they came to the conclusion that the doctor simply messed up the labels on the bottles containing sperm. The strange thing is that the Dept. never requested DNA testing either. The Dept. claims that they did not have the authority to request him to undergo DNA testing.
Again, legal analyst Lisa Bloom claims that this is simply not true: "Under my reading of their rules, they did have the authority to order the DNA test and they simply failed to do so."
What are other families who used the doctor supposed to do? They may have questions about the paternity of their own children. The lawsuit and independent investigation could have possibly put their fears at rest by doing DNA tests, but now they have to keep wondering.
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