Family doctor 'used his sperm to father 100s of babies with patients over 4 decades – sometimes without their knowledge'

A REVERED family doctor may have fathered hundreds of children using his own sperm – sometimes without the parents' knowledge – over four decades, The Sun can reveal.

Dr Philip Peven is credited with delivering around 9,000 babies during his 40-year career in Michigan.

Now a group of siblings who found they were genetically matched after doing an online DNA test have discovered they are related to Dr Peven, who was their parents' doctor, and believe he is their father.

One of the siblings – Jaime Hall – approached Dr Peven in December 2019 and says that he admitted to being her father and to using his own sperm to father a multitude of babies, both as a sperm donor in the late 40s and in his medical practice as an OB-GYN in Detroit.

While both her parents are now dead, Jaime said they believed her biological father was a family friend who had given them a sperm sample – and had no idea Dr Peven used his own sperm.

Jaime says she has been matched up to five half siblings on the website 23andMe, since she submitted her DNA test, but believes there could be hundreds more Peven siblings out there.

“All of us were born in the same hospital, all of our birth certificates show Dr Peven as our OBGYN, not our father," Jaime, 61, of Traverse City, Michigan, told The Sun.

“I then discovered one of Dr Peven’s grandsons on there, he came up as a half nephew sharing 12.3% DNA with me.

“That served as the final, undeniable proof. I share more DNA with Dr Peven's grandson than my sister Lynn's daughter."

Jaime explained how, in the early 50s, her parents visited Dr Peven at Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan for help conceiving.

In 1956, Joyce gave birth to Jaime’s elder sister Lynn, and in 1959 she gave birth to Jaime – both babies were delivered by Dr Peven.

Jaime had no reason to doubt her parentage until 2008, when one of their stepsisters told her and Lynn that the man who had brought them up was not their biological father.

So, in 2017, she conducted a paternity test that confirmed this.

In 2019, she traced her family tree using two genetic testing and analysis services – ancestry.com and 23andMe.

She said: “I discovered that I was 50 percent Ashkenazi Jew, but no one in my family is Ashkenazi Jew. It didn’t make sense.

“My sister Lynn came up as a close match, but she had no Ashkenazi Jew in her DNA analysis…there were also lots of other matches for me as close family, which was exceedingly strange.

“As far as I knew I only had one sister, Lynn.”

Over the next year Jaime undertook a rigorous analysis of her genetic history, meticulously piecing together a series of half siblings that she never knew she had.

“I started messaging everyone who appeared as a close match to me,” Jaime, who runs a company called Laser Pain Relief Center of America with her husband Todd, 51, said.

Over the next year, Jaime claims she has received numerous calls and emails from people who all share high proportions of DNA with her, and who were all delivered by Dr Peven, who is currently the oldest living graduate of the University of Michigan's medical school.

In January of 2020, Jaime teamed up with one of the half-sisters she had discovered through DNA analysis, who has asked not to be named, and decided to finally meet Dr Peven in the flesh.

They found Dr Peven, now 104, who is still living independently in Southfield, Michigan.

He explained to them he would inseminate his patients with a fresh sperm sample – either his own or one of his doctors – in a simple procedure using a pipette while the woman lay down in surgical stirrups.

“We just turned up at his door and walked right in there," she said.

“He was all hunched and had a walker, he said he has neuropathy, but his brain was very sharp.

“Initially we just said ‘You knew our parents, you delivered us’ and he invited us in and we got talking.

“I showed him a picture of my parents and he zoomed in on the baby, me.

“He sat on a chair and we both sat on the floor at his feet, like his two little daughters.

“He said: ‘I was a pioneer you know, I was the first to ever be doing anything like this.’

“We said ‘you not only delivered us… we want to thank you for fathering us. Without you we wouldn’t be here.’

“He asked how we knew, and we told him about the DNA tests.

“He told us that he was not the only doctor at the hospital who was donating sperm – there was a group of doctors and between them they fathered many children.

“He said he had been donating sperm since 1947, since he was doing research in Chicago.

“I said ‘Did you ever think that DNA would be around to bring all these children back to you?

“He said: ‘I never thought this would be possible. It’s like a fairy-tale isn’t it?’ My daughter think I could have fathered thousands of children.'"

Jaime's sister, Lynn Neher, 63, told The Sun she did similar DNA tests online and discovered her father was one of Dr Peven's resident doctors. She has also been matched to half siblings who she has contacted.

Despite the shocking revelations, Jaime and Lynn feels positive about the whole experience.

“I don’t look at it in a negative way. These women, my mother included, came to him desperate, and he gave them something that they all wanted," Jaime said.

World’s most prolific dads

If Dr Peven has fathered hundreds of children it would put him among the world’s most prolific fathers.

They include: 

Bertold Wiesner A Brit biologist who is believed to have fathered up to 600 children after founding a fertility clinic for the middle and upper classes in London. It was later alleged that two thirds of the sperm donations were provided by Wiesner, who died in 1972.

Matteo Valles Bachelorette star Valles, 25, is one of America's most famous sperm donors. He says he has fathered 114 children through sperm donation.

Joe Donor An anonymous man who goes by the name "Joe Donor" claims he has fathered 150 children using Facebook to connect with women looking for a donor. He usually has sex with the women although some of his children have been conceived via artificial insemination. 

Winston Blackmore The 64-year-old is the leader of a polygamous Latter Day Saint sect in British Columbia, Canada. He has 151 children with 27 "wives".

Cecil Byran Jacobson A fertility doctor from Salt Lake City, Utah, Jacobson used his own sperm to impregnate patients. Some 15 children have reportedly matched his DNA but it is believed he may have had up to 75 children.

“There wasn’t the same regulation then as there is now.

“I really think he was trying to help people and without him I wouldn’t be alive today.

“Some of the people that have called me feel like they’ve been cheated, they are having existential issues about it, but I don’t see it that way.

“I’m just happy I’m here and I have nothing but gratefulness to be alive.”

She does, however, feel that people have the right to know the truth about their parentage.

"When I was conceived my mother actually brought in a donor sample with her, one of her friends, she said 'My friend gave my father and I the most precious gift that a person could give another, he gave us you,'" Jaime said.

"And I thought, 'That's beautiful'. So I actually befriended this friend's family. I called them and became close with them and they accepted me as their own.

"It was beautiful until the DNA came back and I found out 'Oh my gosh, Peven is my dad'.

"When I asked Dr Peven about this story, he said, 'I know she brought in a donor'.

"He admitted he discarded the donor and when I asked why, he said it wasn't tested. He said he knew that if I kept it to himself and the other doctors, they knew it was viable so they didn't have to worry about it.

"So, yes ,we know he was deceiving women – or at least not telling them the full truth.

"I think people have the right to find out the truth – not everyone wants to know the truth, but if they choose to pursue it, they should be allowed to know.

"There are huge health and ethical implications for knowing who your real father is.

"You have to realize that Dr Peven was practicing in a small, close-knit community – people could have married relatives without knowing. There is a very high likelihood of certain diseases that run in Ashkenazi heritage."

Sister Lynn added: "Without Dr. Peven and his fertility clinic and everything that they did, I would not be here.

"So consequently, I have nothing but gratitude to them for everything that happened. I cannot be angry or resentful in any way for that.

"But do I think that all of the ways that Dr Peven did what he did were ethical? No, absolutely not.

"The fact that he didn't tell women that he was using his own sperm sample is not right. That would be profoundly unethical by today's standards.

"Do I think that he had some kind of egotistical God complex going on? I don't. I think they were practicing medicine and doing it as best they could back then when there really weren't many options. It was all new."

One of the other siblings, Jean Landes, 55, said she found out Dr Peven was her father after she did a DNA test and was linked to many more people than the two siblings she had grown up with.

After being matched to Jaime and others as a half sibling, she also went to visit Dr Peven who confirmed he was her biological father during a videotaped meeting.

"I spent a good hour and a half talking to him. He denied it at first, but into the conversation, I just kept on talking and asking questions, and his guard went down," she said.

"He was just clinical about it. He wasn't emotional about it. He just told the technique how he did it. But it was a great meeting."

She added: "To be honest it was a tremendous relief, I felt like a big puzzle and a big mystery of my life was solved.

"As far as my feelings towards him, I don't think his intentions were anything but to help childless couples conceive.

"He'd learned the technique when he was an intern and he took it to his clinic and he just could not have ever imagined that there would be any ability to be able to trace it. The thought probably didn't even cross his mind.

"He just thought 'These people can't have children. They want children'. And I know for a fact that my mother was just so wanting to be a mom, that she would do anything."

Jean's non-biological father, Oleh Kostetsky, 85, told The Sun he knew that he and his wife had conceived using a donor but had no idea that Dr Peven had used his own sperm until Jean told him recently.

"I didn't know anything about what went on behind the scenes, I only found out very recently," he said. "But I don't object to it."

He added he was grateful that Dr Peven had helped his wife conceive and had always seen himself as his children's real father.

Dr Peven was not well enough to answer questions when approached by The Sun.

However, his daughter Kari confirmed that her father had donated sperm as a medical student and also when he ran his own practice.

"There's a group of hospital doctors that donated sperm and when he couldn't get hold of a proper doctor – one that he liked – I think he had used his own sperm" she said.

"We're very healthy and intelligent people."

When asked if her father ever inseminated women with his sperm without their knowledge, she said: "If they had asked, they would have been told, he had no reason not to tell them.

"They were begging to be helped… and they didn't ask, all as they wanted was a baby, a healthy baby.

"And they trusted him to find someone intelligent and healthy.

"Usually he would only use his own sperm if he couldn't get a fresh sample, there was no cryogenics in those days.

"But my father would have told anybody who asked. And there are lots of reasons, a mother also might say, 'Well, I didn't have any idea', even though they did."

She said she "had no idea" how many children her father could have fathered.

Three of the other siblings declined to comment and asked not to be named. Another was unavailable for comment prior to publication.

It comes after it emerged Dr Quincy Fortier, the subject of HBO documentary Baby God, fathered at least 24 children using his own sperm.

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