(SPOKANE, Wash.) — Brianna Hayes sought answers through a DNA test taken in her late 20s after she learned the man who raised her and whom she called dad was not her biological father.
Now, the DNA results have led to a lawsuit involving Hayes’ mother and her mother’s former gynecologist.
The lawsuit, filed by Hayes’ mother Sharon Hayes Oct. 25 in Spokane County Superior Court, alleges that the gynecologist, identified in the lawsuit as Dr. David R. Claypool, used his own sperm to artificially inseminate Sharon Hayes, who had gone to Claypool with her then-husband for fertility treatments.
According to the lawsuit, Sharon Hayes was allegedly told by Claypool, at the time a Spokane-based gynecologist, that she needed to pay $100 in cash for the sperm donation for each artificial insemination procedure, and that the sperm “would be provided by college and/or medical students.”
The lawsuit claims that Sharon Hayes asked for a sperm donor who looked physically similar to her then-husband, and who had been screened for health and genetic issues.
After at least two attempts at artificial insemination, Sharon Hayes, who lives in Idaho, became pregnant, according to the lawsuit.
Nine months later, in June 1990, Brianna Hayes was born. She told local ABC News affiliate KXLY-TV that she had no idea she was conceived through artificial insemination until last year, when she took a DNA test in a search for answers to medical challenges she faced.
Through the DNA test, Brianna Hayes, now 33, said she was matched with 16 half-siblings. After additional testing, she said she discovered Claypool was her biological father.
Brianna Hayes, who declined to be interviewed by ABC News, told KXLY-TV her mother’s reaction to the news was “shock and denial.”
“She felt a profound distress. She felt violated,” Brianna Hayes said of her mother, who also declined to be interviewed by ABC News. “She felt conflicted because she said, ‘I love you so much, and obviously this doesn’t take away from the love that I have for you, but what he did was wrong.'”
Of her own reaction to learning Claypool is her biological father, she said, “I feel off-put that I’m a product of his violation.”
Drew Dalton, an attorney for Claypool, did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Last month, Dalton told the Seattle Times, the first outlet to report on the lawsuit, that “the matter is still in mediation as far as I am aware.”
Claypool told the newspaper he did not know Sharon Hayes, saying, in part, “This is the first I’ve heard of anything in 40 years.”
Claypool’s physician and surgeon license expired in 2010, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
In the lawsuit, Claypool is accused of committing “fertility fraud” by concealing “the use of his own sperm” without the consent of Sharon Hayes, who is now 67 and a mother of two.
The lawsuit claims Sharon Hayes experienced “severe and traumatic emotional distress, sleeplessness, anxiety and disruptions in her relationship with her daughter as well as other damages,” following discovery that Claypool is her youngest daughter’s biological father.
The suit requests a trial and seeks financial damages.
Brianna Hayes told KXLY-TV she is speaking publicly about her family’s story to help bring “peace and justice” for her mom, and to call for change. She said she wants to see legislators, including in Washington state, enact legislation to “hold [medical professionals] accountable for this type of violation and breach of consent.”
“I just want to advocate for my mom’s peace and justice and to advocate for the peace and justice of anyone who feels conflicted or affected by [Claypool’s] actions, but also any other medical professional who were committing these actions, and for them to have justice as well,” she said. “And to open the ears and eyes of lawmakers to realize that real people are being affected, and because laws like this are not getting passed through, people continue to be affected.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.