The University of Utah has started an investigation to determine if a dead former employee, Tom Lippert, who was also a convicted felon, illegally used his own sperm instead of numerous potential fathers’ semen donations at a Utah fertility clinic. The problem happened at the former Reproductive Medical Technologies clinic where Lippert is believed to done this deed many times. This announcement has generated a flood of calls coming in by worried previous clients.
One prior patient, Pam Branum, took a paternity test that ended up revealing Lippert to be the biological father of her daughter, Annie. Branum explained that she recalled Lippert, who was also an instructor at the university, because of all the many baby pictures he use to have on his desk.
She stated that she commented to Lippert on all the photographs he kept. He just smiled and explained that the pictures were of babies that he had helped couples conceive.
Another person who chose to remain anonymous stated that she had heard Tom Lippert brag to his own family about replacing his sperm in order to sire children through sperm donation. The University of Utah, which did not own the clinic but worked along with it, has now offered to give free genetic analysis to any families who are concerned they possible could have been affected. He was employed at the clinic from 1988 through the middle to late 1990’s, so the college is now offering free paternity tests to any families who went to the clinic and used its services through that time period. The university stated that the clinic did not leave any type of archives on Lippert himself.
Although the clinic has been shut down since back in 1992 and Lippert passed away in 1999, the University of Utah has also created a telephone hotline for any parents who are worried about this entire ordeal and that Lippert may have done something to permanently and physically etch himself into being part of their family. There have been nearly 20 calls so far that have come in with young people wanting to know who they really are.
Regrettably, the reality of this extremely disturbing state of affairs is that there is very little data that is available with which to be able to make any final conclusions, explained Kathy Wilets. She is a spokesperson for the University of Utah’s science and health division.
On the mid 1970’s, Lippert ended up serving nearly two years in prison because he kidnapped a female college student and put her inside some sort of black box contraption for over three weeks. He then proceeded to use electroshock therapy on the young woman.
Branum declared that she was actually kind of pleased that Lippert was dead because his death helps to put some of this to rest.
Wilets stated that the university was sharing all of the information they had on file in order to help any worried families, but that these circumstances were very unusual and tough to deal with. We think it will probably be impossible to actually determine what exactly went on with Lippert and his actions behind the scenes. It will probably never come out exactly just what happened. The university is extremely concerned about the distress this situation has created for the Branum family and any others which may find themselves in similar situations due to Lippert and him switching his sperm with potential fathers’ who had come to the clinic.
By Kimberly Ruble