UofL, retired doctor sued: woman accuses doctor of inseminating her with his sperm

The plaintiff alleges an Ancestry.com test revealed the true parentage of her daughter.
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 9:10 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - When Susan Crowder’s daughter completed a home genetic testing kit, a new lawsuit says the family discovered something surprising about her parentage: the daughter’s father was retired University of Louisville Health fertility doctor, Dr. Marvin Yussman.

Crowder’s lawyer said Thursday that Crowder is now suing both Yussman and UofL Health under Kentucky’s new fertility fraud lawsuit, which provides criminal and civil penalties for “fraudulent assisted reproduction.” It is a law Crowder herself fought for after making the alleged discovery three years ago.

“In these types of cases, this conduct occurred in the 70s,” plaintiff’s attorney Amy Wheatley said. “And people aren’t finding out until now. And so without this law there was no way to actually have any redress.”

The lawsuit alleges that, in 1975, Crowder and her then-husband were struggling to conceive, so they sought treatment from Yussman.

After consultation, Yussman told Crowder that an anonymous medical student would donate the sperm sample. The lawsuit alleges that Yussman indicated a donor “who had the same build as her then-husband and who had similar features, such as hair and eye color,” would be providing a sperm sample for Crowder’s insemination. The lawsuit states that, instead, Yussman provided the sample himself, without Crowder’s knowledge or consent.

According to the lawsuit, in April 2019, Crowder’s daughter completed an Ancestry.com genetic test and uploaded her results to the online database. At that point, a woman, listed on the database as her half-sibling, contacted her and said they had the same biological father as a sperm donor.

“This woman indicated that the donor father was Dr. Yussman,” states the lawsuit, “that she had been in contact with him, and that he had admitted to her that he was her biological father.”

At that point, Crowder brought these issues to the attention of the University of Louisville, “where Dr. Yussman was still a member of the faculty, only to be told that he had retired.” Crowder then filed a complaint with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, but says she was told that there was “insufficient evidence that Dr. Yussman violated the Kentucky Medical Practice Act.”

“I had such a sense of violation,” Crowder said. “Just such a sense and it was like, what can I do?”

Crowder’s attorney, Amy R. Wheatley of Stein Law Office stated in a press release, “After being rebuffed by the medical licensing board, Susan Crowder advocated for the passage of Kentucky’s Fraudulent Assisted Reproduction Law. This law allows her and other victims to hold rogue physicians liable for their unlawful conduct.”

“People say she just wants money. No, I want accountability,” Crowder said. “I want this man to acknowledge that what he did, and even if he never acknowledges it I want somebody else to tell him that what he did was wrong.”

UofL Health Director of Public Relations, David McArthur tells WAVE:

“In 1975, the fertility clinic was an independent clinic not associated with, or part of, UofL Hospital. Marvin Yussman no longer a physician with our organization.”

Yussman has not responded to our request for comment.

The law office invites other alleged victims to contact the attorney here.

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