The suspect died in 1999, the fertility clinic where he reportedly replaced a customer's sperm with his own closed in the 1990s, and the clinic left behind no records that might show the extent of the scandal, the University of Utah said yesterday. That could mean more questions than answers for a number of people: A university hotline has fielded 17 calls in recent days about possible tampering of semen samples at the fertility clinic once operated by faculty members. "Unfortunately, the reality of this very disturbing situation is that there is very little information with which to make any definitive conclusions," says a rep for the University of Utah's health sciences division.
The University of Utah had no ownership interest in the clinic, Reproductive Medical Technologies, but used some of its services and is offering free paternity testing to anyone who used the Utah clinic. They say it appears Thomas Ray Lippert, a convicted felon who worked there as a tech from 1988 until the mid- or late-1990s. News broke last week that a couple and their 21-year-old daughter had their DNA tested as a lark via 23andMe and, to their shock, discovered that daughter and father weren't related, though the husband had given his own sperm to the clinic to be used in the process. Further testing then revealed that the daughter's real biological father was Lippert. The rep added: "We believe it is impossible to determine exactly what happened." More on the case here. (Read more fertility clinic stories.)