Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Artificial Insemination Story Covered on Salt Lake City KUTV CBS Affiliate and University of Utah Releases a Statement

Coverage of the artificial insemination story (<< full story here) that I first wrote about yesterday is gaining steam. A segment just led the news on Salt Lake City's CBS Affiliate KUTV.  It included an audio interview with Pam Branum. (View here.) 

In conjunction with this coverage, the University of Utah released a statement. Here it is in its entirety:

"Since April 2013, the University of Utah has been investigating credible information regarding the possible mislabeling or tampering of a semen sample at RMTI (Reproductive Medical Technologies, Inc.), a private andrology lab owned by a University faculty member (now deceased). The facility was a private laboratory located in Midvale, Utah. While not owned or operated by the University, the University contracted with RMTI for specimen preparation and semen analysis. Additionally, RMTI prepared semen samples for private physician offices throughout the community, not University physicians.

Through genetic testing, a woman who received artificial insemination (AI) in 1991 discovered the biological father of her child was not her husband, as she had assumed. She traced the genetics of her child to a man who was a former employee of the now-defunct RMTI, which may have prepared the AI sample. The man in question was also a part-time employee of the University from 1988-94.

There are no remaining records from RMTI to prove the claim and the man in question has been deceased since 1999. Consequently, it is unknown how this incident might have happened. In addition, there is no evidence to indicate this situation extends beyond the case in question. We understand this information has been upsetting for the family and other clients of RMTI. We want to help alleviate this distress by providing professional genetic testing for RMTI clients who were treated between 1988 through 1994.

Concerned individuals should contact the University of Utah Andrology Lab at 801-587-5852."

Although there are some discrepancies from my perspective, I believe that this statement is a good start. It is my understanding that Thomas Lippert worked at the clinic from 1986 through1997, so I'm not clear as to why they are only offering genetic testing to those who were clients between 1988 -1994.

This part of the statement is obviously concerning, "RMTI prepared semen samples for private physician offices throughout the community" because it seems to imply that others could potentially be affected by Tom's actions who were not direct clients of the RMTI clinic. 

From my perspective, independent genetic testing might be a better option since the DNA samples of Tom's relatives are already in the three major genealogy DNA databases (see sidebar for links). If the potentially affected families take the university up on its offer of genetic testing (I assume this would be traditional paternity testing) and they learn that the presumed father is not the biological father of their child, then they will need to undergo further testing to determine if Tom Lippert is the biological father. It may be preferable to endure the anticipation of one test instead of two under these stressful circumstances. Of course, the families will undoubtedly carefully consider this and decide what they feel is best. I just want everyone to be aware that there are affordable options. 

Business Insider also picked up the story

For anyone who believes that they may be affected and would like to be in touch with the Branums, please consult this site


  1. Also saw CNN covered it today, Jan. 10.

  2. It is irrelevant whether or not the University owned the lab ir contracted its services--they still had responsibilities.