Practices at two now-closed Salt Lake-area clinics
came into question last year when Pamela Branum, who was
artificially inseminated at Reproductive Medical Technologies Inc,
claimed genetic testing revealed that, instead of her husband, a lab
technician had fathered their daughter in the early 1990s.
The technician, Tom Lippert, has since died.
The committee of three university physicians, tasked with reviewing
the case and making recommendations to the institution, said in a
report released on Thursday that it was unclear how the Branum
switch occurred or whether it was accidental or done on purpose.
"Either explanation is unacceptable from the perspective of the
committee and, presumably, the Branums and any other couples who
might be similarly affected," the report said.
Lippert, who had a criminal record, was hired without a background
check in 1988 and worked part-time at both RMT and the Community
Lab, the report said. He was also a registered sperm donor at the
clinics and frequently supplied samples.
Lippert, considered a good worker by some but a problem employee by
others, left the job in 1993 for unknown reasons and died six years
later, the report said.
Sean Mulvihill, M.D., associate vice president for clinical affairs
and CEO of the University of Utah Medical Group, apologized to the
Branums for the swap on behalf of the University this week.
"No family should have to go through something like this, and we are
deeply sorry for the stress and uncertainty this has caused their
family," Mulvihill said in a written statement.
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In its report, the committee suggested that the institution
continue to offer free paternity testing for one to two years to
former clients concerned about their procedures.
The university said it had tested five people through an independent
laboratory since January to try to determine whether Lippert had
fathered any additional children.
The testing did not link Lippert to more offspring but did uncover a
case where a child conceived by an anonymous sperm bank donor at one
of the now-defunct clinics was not the donor selected by the family,
the university said.
The university said it was investigating that case as well.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; editing by Dan Whitcomb and Gunna
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