Fertility Doctor Accused of Using His Own Sperm Is Ordered to Pay Millions

A Colorado jury on Wednesday awarded $8.75 million to the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit accusing a former fertility doctor of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate at least a dozen women over more than two decades to impregnate

The sentence was awarded to Cheryl Emmons, her husband and two of her daughters, who, according to their lawyer, Patrick Fitz-Gerald, were secretly fathered by the doctor, Paul B. Jones.

In October 2019, the Emmonses and seven other families filed a lawsuit against Dr. Jones and the clinic where he worked, Women’s Health Care of Western Colorado, on claims of medical negligence, lack of informed consent, fraud, misrepresentation of negligence, breach of contract, battery, and extreme and outrageous conduct, according to the lawsuit.

Five of the families settled for an unknown amount before the case went to trial, Mr. Fitz-Gerald said. Two other claims against Dr. Jones is still active.

Because the Emmonses have more claims against Dr. Jones filed against the clinic, he is expected to pay a large majority of the $8.75 million award, Mr. Fitz-Gerald said.

Dr. Jones’ attorneys, Nicole Marie Black and Nancy L. Cohen, did not immediately respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment Thursday. But in 2019, by the time the lawsuit was filed, Dr. Jones declined to tell a KUSA reporter in Denver whether he fathered the children named in the lawsuit.

“I do not deny it; I don’t admit it,” he said at the time.

He surrendered his medical license in November 2019, days after the families filed the lawsuit, according to state records.

Ivan Sarkissian, a women’s health care attorney from Western Colorado, where Dr. Jones worked did not immediately return emails or calls Thursday.

Dr. Jones, Ms. Emmons’ former obstetrician and gynecologist in Grand Junction, Colo., is believed to have fathered at least 17 children with 12 women from 1975 to 1997, said Maia Emmons-Boring, one of Ms. Emmons’ daughters, said Thursday. .

In 1979 and 1984, Dr. Jones Ms. Emmons impregnated by artificial insemination after he suggested he find a doctor or medical student to be her sperm donor, Ms. Emmons-Boring said.

He never told the family that he was the one providing the sperm sample, Ms. Emmons-Boring said. Dr. Jones, now 83, even helped both Ms. Emmons-Boring and her sister Tahnee Scott to deliver.

Mrs. Emmons-Boring never questioned that the man who raised her was not her father until a series of events that began after she took a DNA test from Ancestry.com.

In 2018, after Ms. Emmons-Boring took the test, she said she received a message from a woman who believed they were half-siblings. She didn’t believe the woman at first, but then she dug.

Her parents then told her for the first time that she and her sister were conceived by artificial insemination. She spent weeks building a family tree “until it ran into Dr. Jones,” she said.

She messaged five other half-siblings she found online, who were “all shocked and disgusted” by the news, Ms. Emmons-Boring (41) said.

Credit…The Emmons family

A few weeks later they mr. Fitz-Gerald’s law firm, Driskell, Fitz-Gerald & Ray, called. Eight families eventually filed the lawsuit against him and the clinic, Mr. Fitz-Gerald said.

Dr. Jones was never charged with a crime in connection with the artificial insemination, according to Daniel P. Rubinstein, the district attorney of the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Mesa County, Colo. At that time, Mr. Rubinstein said, it was not a crime in Colorado for a doctor not to disclose the identity of a sperm donor.

After news of dr. As Jones’ actions spread across Colorado, the state passed a law in 2020 that made it a felony for a healthcare provider to “knowingly use gametes” from a donor without a patient’s consent.

At least 50 fertility doctors in the United States have been accused of donating sperm in recent years after commercial DNA testing became more widespread.

Mrs. Emmons-Boring said she is working with Colorado lawmakers on one of the nation’s first laws to provide certain protections to children conceived as a result of fertility fraud.

For now, she said, she has “a lot of guilt” about ever taking a DNA test.

“It turned so many lives around because I took that test,” she said.

She is also concerned that, because Dr. Jones fathered so many children in one area, some of them may be dating or marrying each other.

Mrs. Emmons-Boring said that some of her half-siblings believe that Dr. Jones may have passed on a gene for cystic fibrosis, but they can’t know for sure because he refused to share his medical history with them.

“It would be nice,” she said, “if he showed some kind of compassion.”

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