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The Sperminator

This film tells the story of Dr Cecil Jacobson, a fertility expert who had a reputation as a miracle worker in the American community where he worked, until it was discovered that he was duping women desperate to conceive by fathering the children himself.

The Sperminator - programme image
When his deception finally came to light, as the result of another enquiry into him falsely telling women they were pregnant and charging them for the process, investigators suspected that Jacobson had fathered up to 75 local children. And while many of his victims were appalled, he seemed to think he had done nothing wrong.

The Sperminator - programme image
Jacobson assured parents that he could match them to donors from the same backgrounds and with the same looks and intellect. But in reality he would slip off with a test-tube before a consultation to provide a fresh 'donation' himself. Arrested and brought to trial in 1992, Jacobson was convicted of 53 counts of fraud and perjury – incredibly there was no law against him using his own semen to impregnate his patients. He was sentenced to five years in prison, still protesting his innocence.

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Making a complaint
If you've been unhappy with a healthcare experience – recent or in the past – this article sets out the steps you should take in making a complaint, and suggests organisations you can contact for further advice.

DNA testing for paternity
Extreme cases like that involving Dr Jacobson make be rare, but UK health researchers estimate that up to one in 25 dads could unknowingly be raising another man's child. This article explains how DNA testing for paternity works and suggests important things to consider before you go ahead. It also lists organisations, websites and government-approved testers.

This article looks at infertility and its causes and outlines the ways that it can be treated.

Many of Dr Jacobsen's patients suffered what they thought was a miscarriage when they weren't actually pregnant. The experience can be extremely traumatic nonetheless. This article examines the causes, symptoms and impact of miscarriage and suggests services to contact for further support.


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