Couple say sperm bank worker may be real father of their daughter

Jan. 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A Texas mom says a Utah university should find out why a convicted felon at a private sperm bank, and not her husband, appears to be the father of her child.

In fact, Pamela Branum of San Antonio said she believes the employee, Tom Lippert, may be the actual father of many children whose parents used the same facility, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

Branum and her husband, John, used the services of a private sperm bank contracted to the University of Utah in 1991. Their daughter, Annie, was born in 1992. After recent DNA testing on her husband and daughter, conducted because of Pamela's interest in genealogy, she learned John was not Annie's father.

Doing her own investigative work, Pamela Branum isolated Lippert, who died in 1999, as the father by doing genetic testing on his mother.

Lippert served two years in prison after pleading guilty in 1975 to kidnapping a college student and performing electroshock procedures on her to make her love him.

The university acknowledged "credible" evidence Thursday Lippert was the father of the Branums' daughter. It blamed mislabeling or deliberate tampering of semen samples at the facility, Reproductive Medical Technologies Inc.

Branum said university staff told her their investigation had revealed Lippert was a "popular" donor.

In a statement, the university said it had been investigating the "possible mislabeling or tampering of a semen sample" at the sperm bank since April 2013, KUTV-TV, Salt Lake City, reported.

The sperm bank no longer has records to prove the claim Lippert fathered the child, and because he is dead, "it is unknown how this incident might have happened," the university added.

Contrary to the Branums' assertions, the university said there is "no evidence to indicate this situation extends beyond the case in question."

The university is offering genetic testing for people who were clients of the sperm bank from 1988 to 1994.

While the couple have been upset by the revelation, Pamela Branum says the good news is "we wouldn't have our daughter if this didn't happen. And she's just the most wonderful person ever."

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