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'Fertility Fraud' now a felony in Kentucky after Gov. Beshear signs bill into law

Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 402 into law, making it illegal for doctors to impregnate patients using their own sperm.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The act of fertility fraud is now illegal in Kentucky after Governor Beshear signed the bill into law this week. House Bill 402 was proposed after calls from victims, who learned they were deceived by their doctors years ago

"I would like to see a law in Kentucky that protects these women who seek this treatment. It needs to be on the books that this isn't just an ethics thing. This is against the law," Susan Crawford told WHAS11 last fall.

Crowder said she used fertility treatments to get pregnant with her daughter in the 1970s. For more than 40 years, she believed her daughter's biological father was an anonymous donor but then an genealogy test revealed her doctor, Marvin Yussman, was the father. 

"On very rare occasions when the donor did not show and no frozen specimen was available, I used my own sperm," Yussman said, according to Kentucky Medical Board records.  

An investigator with the board said Yussman admitted to using his own sperm to inseminate patients "about a half a dozen times."

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure determined there was "insufficient evidence of a violation of the Kentucky Medical Practice Act" in Crowder's case, meaning Yussman kept his license and continued his work with patients and students at UofL after the discovery.

Like most states, Kentucky did not have a law forbidding physicians from impregnating unwitting patients using their own semen, until now. 

House Bill 402 makes it a Class D Felony for doctors to inseminate patients using their own gametes. It also opens up the door for more litigation.

Dr. Jody Madeira, an IU Law Professor and fertility fraud expert, said, "This law protects the right of female patients, their partners, and also their children to seek accountability."

She played an instrumental role in presenting the issues, connecting victims with resources and working with lobbyist to educate lawmakers and pass the legislation. 

"What happened to them was a violation of the grossest sort and they had to undergo that but now this struggle is over and people wont have to worry about this in the future," Madeira said. 

    

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