As reported in The Seattle Times, a Kootenai County resident today filed a lawsuit against David R. Claypool, MD, a Spokane County OB-GYN claiming Claypool secretly used his own sperm to inseminate her in 1989 while telling her the sample came from a screened donor that fit her preferred profile and characteristics.
According to RJ Ermola, the attorney for the plaintiff Sharon Hayes and partner at GLP Attorneys, Claypool used his own sperm to inseminate other women in the region, ostensibly deceiving them as he did Hayes.
According to Ermola, Hayes turned to Claypool after she and her then-husband were having difficulty conceiving. Claypool recommended artificial insemination using donor sperm, assuring her that his practice used sperm from a recognized organization that tested donors using a rigorous health screening and profile of physical characteristics and relied on donations from medical-school students.
The complaint states that Hayes began artificial insemination treatments, became pregnant and gave birth to her daughter on June 9, 1990.
Hayes learned of Claypool’s actions after her now-adult daughter submitted DNA for genetic testing in March 2022 to determine if the testing would help explain health issues she was experiencing, Ermola added.
“Sharon had made the difficult decision to not tell her daughter the circumstances of her birth, not wanting to jeopardize what was a perfectly health family dynamic,” said Ermola. “Now, 33 years later, her daughter not only learns about the artificial insemination, but is stunned to learn she has an unexplained number of half-siblings in the area.”
“Patients trust their doctors with their lives, and the relationship between a woman and her OB-GYN in the case of infertility is especially sensitive,” said Ermola. “Dr. Claypool deliberately and spectacularly failed to provide the care Sharon deserved, violating her trust for reasons that go beyond explanation. Now, the entire Hayes family is left to pick up the pieces after this traumatic revelation.”
The complaint also notes that Claypool charged Hayes a $100 fee for each insemination which the physician claimed was to compensate the medical students providing the donated sperm.
According to the complaint, these actions constitute fertility fraud and medical battery on the part of Claypool.
“I came to Dr. Claypool at one of my most vulnerable moments and he took advantage of me and my family,” Hayes said. I feel distraught to know that my relationship with my daughters, and their relationship with their father, will never be the same. He deserves to be held accountable.”
The case was filed on October 25, 2023, in Spokane County Superior Court.