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N4T INVESTIGATORS: Reactions to fertility fraud legislation

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TUCSON (KVOA) - We are learning more about the fertility fraud bill that was signed into law by Governor Ducey. 

It allows lawsuits against fertility doctors who secretly use their own sperm to impregnate a woman.   

It's a law that came about because of a Tucson case a local attorney is handling.

The Tucson investigators first told you about it last fall.

When Dev Sethi took this case, he said he wanted to make a wrong right. He credits his clients for taking that giant step to turn their wrong into a right for others in Arizona.

"This is the most egregious violation of a trust between a doctor and a patient imaginable and these folks deserved to have their story told," is what he told News 4 Tucson.

In the story, Kristen and her brother Aaron Salgado were born at Tucson Medical center in the 1980s.  

Their parents agreed to have Dr. James Blute III perform artificial insemination with a sperm donor.  

They specifically requested a Hispanic donor. Instead, court documents show Dr. Blute used his own sperm and then delivered his own children. Fast forward to now, when Kristen Finlayson now married discovered the man who signed her birth certificate was really her biological father.  

It was through an over-the-counter DNA test kit that she learned this.

"As a result of their courage and were able to stand up and share this story they've made real change and patients, and patient advocates in Arizona will be the beneficiaries of this going forward," added Sethi.

Arizona is now joining five other states in having a fertility fraud statute on the books. They are, California, Texas, Indiana, Florida and Colorado. Law professor Jody Mediera and an expert in fertility fraud is responsible for helping four of those states. 

Now she can add Arizona. Her recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee apparently struck a chord. 

"These physicians intentionally and maliciously wreaked havoc with the physical and emotional psychological well-being of their former patients, partners, and their children. And senate bill 12-37 is needed desperately to hold these physicians accountable."

The bottom line added Sethi, "On a bi-partisan basis Arizona lawmakers recognized that this whole notion of fertility fraud is unacceptable and inexcusable."

Kristen Finlayson and her family couldn't be happier and credit Sethi."He's been wonderful, and he's really helped us out a lot."

Since our story first aired, other women have come forward and spoken to Kristen's mother about their experience. There is at least one other civil lawsuit against Dr. James Blute in Pima County.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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