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Renowned fertility doctor Quincy Fortier harbored a dark secret during his decades-long career — he had been clandestinely using his own sperm to impregnate female patients and ended up fathering dozens of children. But he would also become the subject of another disturbing allegation.
Court documents revealed that Fortier had also been accused of sexually molesting his own stepdaughter and later impregnating her with his sperm at the age of 17 even though the teen wasn’t sexually active at the time.
The shocking allegation was uncovered as filmmaker Hannah Olson was working on the new HBO documentary “Baby God,” which chronicled Fortier’s career and his deceitful practices.
Olson told The Minneapolis Star Tribune she didn’t know about the sexual abuse allegations against the doctor until production of the film had already begun.
“I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt,” she said. “I mean, he had all these accolades and I was raised to trust doctors. It wasn’t until deep into the process we discovered this bombshell revelation.”
The film follows Wendi Babst, a retired detective, on her quest to discover more about the man responsible for giving her life after she is shocked to discover through an ancestry website that her mother’s fertility doctor was her actual biological father.
Fortier, who died in 2006 at the age of 94, is now believed to have impregnated dozens of women with his own sperm while working as a fertility doctor, telling his patients that the sample had come from a random donor or in some cases, even the woman’s own husband.
As part of her journey, Babst discovered the court documents and the shocking allegations of sexual abuse by Fortier's own family members.
The court documents revealed that Fortier’s stepdaughter, Connie Fortier, had accused him of sexually molesting her as a child from the time she was 4 or 5 years old until she was about 13.
“Dr. Fortier also sexually molested me during his many medical exams of me as a child,” Connie said in the court documents. “He would examine my vaginal area even if I only had a stomachache.”
Connie’s mother had married Quincy Fortier after her husband died and the couple went on to have five more children together.
When Connie turned 17, she was shocked to learn she was pregnant because she “was not having sexual relations” at the time.
She later realized she must have gotten pregnant during a medical exam with her stepfather—who was later revealed to be the father of her child.
Fortier insisted she have the baby and she was sent to a home in Minnesota for unwed mothers to give birth.
“At that home, I arranged for my son to be adopted,” she said in the documents. “I never attempted to have any contact with such son as I was ashamed of this involuntary and surprise conception.”
But in 1992, a Minnesota governmental agency got in touch with her about her adopted son after he requested to have contact with her.
Olson tracks down that son—Jonathan Stensland—in the documentary.
Stensland said Connie later wrote him a letter saying that she believed she got pregnant when she was “getting a checkup from Quincy.”
“She said she wasn’t sexually active, so it couldn’t have been, nothing else worked in her mind,” Stensland said from his Walker, Minnesota home.
After speaking with his biological mother, Stensland said he tracked down Quincy Fortier before the doctor died in November of 2006 to ask him about the conception. Quincy Fortier allegedly told him the pregnancy had occurred accidentally and claimed that before Connie’s exam he had taken a semen sample with a cotton swab and accidentally mixed up the sample with another one used during Connie’s check-up.
“It’s like he was still selling himself this story or trying to sell me the story that he had made a mistake,” Stensland said in the documentary. “He had the audacity to tell her like ‘it could have been a virgin birth,’ this guy of science.”
Connie Fortier wasn’t the only child he raised to accuse him of sexual abuse. Fortier’s son, Quincy Fortier Jr., also said in the documentary that his father molested him, his four sisters—which included Connie—and his younger brother.
“My father was crazy, also a pervert,” he said.
Quincy Fortier Jr. said when his mother discovered the abuse, she divorced him but “nobody told her for the longest time.”
“I think the happiest he ever made me was when he was laying in his coffin, dead. Then I felt safe,” Quincy Fortier Jr. said in the documentary.
After the divorce, Quincy Fortier went on to adopt two more children, Nannette and Sonia Fortier.
When asked by filmmakers whether their father had ever abused them, Sonia Fortier said it “wasn’t a part of my life” and didn’t know whether the allegations made by his other children were true.
Nannette Fortier described her father as a “man who had dedicated his entire life to helping people because he loved people.” She acknowledged that some people might think it was odd her father also served as her OB/GYN, but said she had never felt uncomfortable with the arrangement.
“I was so grateful not only because he was such a phenomenal doctor, but loved me too,” she said. “You can’t ask for anything better.”
Jody Lyneé Madeira, a professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, has become an expert in fertility fraud and tracks the increasing number of cases of doctors being accused of secretly using their own sperm to impregnate patients.
She told Oxygen.com that Fortier isn’t the only physician accused of these types of acts to have committed other disturbing acts. In a “handful of cases” she said doctors have examined their adult children who aren’t aware they share a biological connection.
“In one case, it was for fertility treatment purposes,” she said. “In a couple other cases, it was conducting OB/GYN exams on her.”
Alison Farber Kramer told local station WTHR she had been going to see Dr. Donald Cline for fertility services before she realized the doctor was also her own biological father. Kramer’s mother and father had gone to the doctor years earlier when they were struggling to conceive.
Kramer’s mother believed she had gotten pregnant with twins using a donation from a medical student and was never told the donation had actually come from Cline himself.
Kramer said she discovered her genetic link to Cline after doing an at home DNA test and said the discovery that he was also her physician has been a difficult realization.
“It’s just been very hard to deal with, hard to accept,” she told the local station. “It’s hard to wrap my head around.”
Madeira also knows of another case where a doctor delivered his own grandchildren.
“That really becomes, something I think, like Fortier, beyond just using their own sperm,” she said. “No one expects that your dad is actually your gynecologist who's doing pelvic and breast exams.”
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