Fertility doctors who use their own semen to impregnate patients without their consent will face harsher penalties in Washington.

Efforts have failed in recent years to enact stricter penalties as lawmakers debated whether the crime should be considered medical rape or assault.

HB 1300 was passed during the 2024 Washington state legislative session and makes it a felony for a physician in Washington state to use their own semen to impregnate a fertility patient without their consent.

The crime would be classified as fertility fraud and considered third-degree criminal assault. Penalties could lead to a loss of a medical license and up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Washington will be the 10th state classifying fertility fraud a crime.

The explosion in use of home DNA and genetic testing kits like 23andMe or through Ancestry.com have helped people uncover the connections in cases where there was an artificial insemination.

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While instances are rare, it has been alleged in Washington state recently.  A former University of Washington doctor voluntarily surrendered his medical license after being accused of inseminating a woman with his sperm.  He did not admit any wrongdoing according to KING5

There are other, more notable cases of fertility fraud

In 2017, a retired Indianapolis fertility doctor was discovered to have impregnated dozens of women who thought the donors were anonymous. The pregnancies led to the birth of at least 90 children.  Cline received a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. The story was featured in the 2022 Netflix documentary "Our Father"

In 2022, a federal court jury in Vermont awarded a woman $5.25 million from a doctor who used his own sperm during an artificial insemination procedure in 1977.

A New York fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm The well known OB-GYN who was suspected of misleading patients about the identity sperm donors for decades and was sued in 2021 by the daughter of one of his patients who became pregnant in the 1980s.

Missing Persons in Washington State

The gallery of persons currently listed as missing on the MUPU list in Washington State. Each picture contains the missing person's name, when they went missing, and which law enforcement agency to contact if you know something that could help.

Gallery Credit: Brian Stephenson

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