Woman's shocking discovery about father after Ancestry.com DNA test

Simon Moss
April 6, 2018

A woman allegedly discovered her biological father was the fertility doctor her parents used to conceive her in 1980 through an Ancestry.com DNA test, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

Rowlette was likely expecting to discover new details about her distant ancestors, but she instead learned that her DNA sample matched that of a doctor in Idaho.

Fast forward to July 2017: The parents never told Rowlette, now married and living in Benton County, Washington, she was conceived with the help of fertility treatments.

According to the lawsuit, Ashby and Fowler agreed to do the operation but only if the donor had physical characteristics similar to Fowler - brown hair, blue eyes and over 6 feet tall.

In 1980, Ashby and Fowler chose to resort to artificial insemination, using a combination of Fowler's sperm and that of an unknown person who supposedly matched their requested traits.

Mortimer examined Ashby and Fowler to determine their reproductive problems.

The suit alleges medical negligence, failure to obtain informed consent, fraud, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and violations of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. "[He] knew Kelli Rowlette was his biological daughter but did not disclose this to Ms. Ashby or Mr. Fowler".

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Mortimer could not be reached for comment.

"While the family understands the public's interest in their story, they ask that their privacy be respected as they focus on the hard process of healing from this trauma", family attorney Shea Meehan wrote in an email Wednesday.

Ms Ashby recognised the name and contacted her now ex-partner, Howard Fowler.

Rowlette was devastated to find out that Mortimer was her biological father, but she needed a few extra months to discover the true extent of what that name meant.

In August, Rowlette was helping to sort through her parents' old papers when she ran across her birth certificate.

Ancestry.com said in a statement, "DNA testing helps people make new and powerful discoveries about their family history and identity. Anyone who takes a test can change their DNA matching settings at any time, meaning that if they opt out, their profile and relationship will not be visible to other customers". Her parents had used Mortimer's services back when they were trying to get pregnant, and apparently he managed to pull a fast one on them.

They paid for the procedure and for access to genetic material that would be used for the procedure.

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