PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An Oregon doctor is suing a fertility clinic after discovering that sperm he donated wasn’t used the way he wanted. Dr. Bryce Cleary discovered that he has at least 17 unknown children after donating sperm three decades ago.
The doctor said his sperm was supposed to be used in a very limited way, but that apparently didn’t happen. Through Ancestry.com, he discovered he has children he never knew about.
“It’s overwhelming,” Dr. Bryce Cleary said.
Finding out you have at least 17 unknown children is not the type of family reunion Cleary was looking for.
“At some point I had to say, ‘This is crazy.’ I can’t be emotionally invested in all these people and it has been very difficult,” the doctor said.
During an emotional press conference, Cleary said he was a medical student at Oregon Health and Science University 30 years ago when the university recruited him to be a sperm donor.
He reluctantly agreed under the condition that the donation would be used for wishful mothers on the East Coast, to produce a maximum of five children and then only used for research.
“I was concerned about my own future children and any interaction they would unknowingly have with children produced in the program,” Cleary said.
Last year, multiple donor children started contacting Cleary after learning of a connection through Ancestry.com. That’s how Allysen Allee learned he was her biological father.
“Knowing that you were a product of fraud against somebody else is emotionally overwhelming,” Allee said. “All of our conception is something that would hurt somebody that tried to do something to help our family.”
Cleary has four children of his own and has learned some of his donor children have attended the same college and church as their siblings.
“I’m much more worried about how this affects them, how it affects my kids and their kids,” Cleary explained. “Even if you are unknowingly a part of something that is just incredibly irresponsible, you feel an obligation.”
This all came to light when Cleary and some of his children were checking their genealogy with Ancestry.com.
Clear has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the university.
The university said in a statement it “treats any allegation of misconduct with that gravity it deserves,” but added that it could not comment on the case because of patient privacy concerns.