At-Home DNA Test Reveals Her Mother’s Fertility Doctor Is Secretly Her Father

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Dec 28, 2023

A woman based in New England received the shock of a lifetime after receiving DNA test results from

According to Carolyn Bester, she learned her mother’s fertility doctor is secretly her father. Now, the family has decided to take the former professor to court. 

Former Professor Secretly Impregnates Patient

Dr. Merle Berger, a former professor at Harvard Medical School and founder of one of the nation’s largest fertility clients, has been accused of secretly impregnating a patient in 1980. 

Dr Merle Berger photographed in a suit as he attends a conference

Source: @naijagigitv/Twitter

According to reports, Berger claimed the sperm would come from an anonymous donor. Instead, he impregnated Sarah Deponian, now 73, using his own sperm.

Husband and Wife Seek Advice from Renowned Doctor

In the late 70s, Sarah and her husband visited Dr. Merle, a now-retired professor of gynecology, obstetrics, and reproductive biology, to discuss intrauterine insemination. 

Couple smile as they receive good news during a recent trip to speak with a doctor

Source: Freepik

The couple decided to proceed with the insemination process. Depoian said Berger told the couple that the sperm would come from a donor “who resembled her husband, who did not know her, and whom she did not know.”

Family Joy over Successful Pregnancy

The Depoian family was overjoyed when they discovered the artificial insemination performed by Berger was successful, and they would soon have a child. 

Soon-to-be mother poses with her pregnant belly and a pair of small pink baby shoes

Source: Freepik

Nine months later, a healthy child named Carolyn Bester was born in January 1981.

DNA Results Bring Forth Shocking Revelation

Earlier this year, Carolyn Bester decided to conduct a home DNA test. And it produced unsettling results.

Carolyn Bester to the left, pictured beside her mother, Sarah, as they enjoy brunch at a restaurant

Source: @enitschke/Reddit

According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the contents of the test proved that Dr. Berger was her biological father. 

Harvard University Comments on Berger

After the accusations were brought against Dr. Berger, a spokesperson for Harvard Medical School shed light on their ties with the former professor. 

A general view of the Harvard University campus is seen on April 22, 2020, in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

They said that while Berger was academically affiliated with a prestigious medical school, his primary place of employment was at Harvard-affiliated hospitals, which they did not own or operate. 


Lawyer Claims the Doctor Knew What He Was Doing

Adam Wolf, a lawyer representing the Depoian family in their case, said Berger clearly knew what he was doing when he planned to inseminate Sarah with his own semen.

Lawyer gives speech at a gathering of people inside a large room

Source: Freepik

 “Some people call this horrific act medical rape, but regardless of what you call it, Dr. Berger’s heinous and intentional misconduct is unethical, unacceptable and unlawful,” said Wolf.


Pioneer in the Medical Fertility Field

Dr. Berger’s lawyers have spoken out publicly about their respect for the former professor, who helped with medical advances in his field. 

Young family enjoy some quality time together in the comfort of their own home

Source: Freepik

One lawyer, Ian Pinta, claims Berger was a pioneer in the medical fertility field who, with 50 years of practice, helped thousands of families fulfill their dreams of having children. 


All Allegations Will Be Disproven in Court

“The allegations concern events from over 40 years ago, in the early days of artificial insemination,” Pinta said in a written statement.

Lawyer sits at his desk surrounded by books and documents that he’ll use in his next case

Source: Freepik

He continued, “The allegations, which have changed repeatedly in the six months since the plaintiff’s attorney first contacted Dr. Berger, have no legal or factual merit and will be disproven in court.”


IVF Fertility Clinic Speaks Out

A Boston IVF Fertility Clinic spokesperson, which Berger helped to found, claims the alleged misconduct occurred before the doctor’s employment at the clinic. 

Spokesperson answers the questions of a reporter holding an orange microphone on the street

Source: Freepik

“The field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility is much different than it was decades ago, and the safety measures and safeguards currently in place would make such allegations virtually impossible nowadays,” the company said in a written statement.


Depoian Takes Berger to Court, Seeking Damages

Sarah Depoian claims in the lawsuit that she seeks “damages in an amount sufficient to compensate her for her injuries.”

Sarah Depoian poses with her daughter Carolyn, wearing a blue flower-patterned dress

Source: @NewsCenterMaine/Youtube

“We fully trusted Dr. Berger. He was a medical professional. It’s hard to imagine not trusting your own doctor,” said Depoian. “We never dreamt he would abuse his position of trust and perpetrate this extreme violation. I am struggling to process it.”


Daughter Shocked After Ancestory.Com Results

Sarah’s daughter, Bester, claims she had been exploring her history by using DNA results from when she came across the shocking results.

Carolyn Bester speaks with a news outlet via video call about the accusations against Dr. Berger

Source: WCVBChannel5Boston/Youtube

While the results didn’t directly match Berger, they identified her as a granddaughter and second cousin of his. After speaking to one of the relatives, she began to piece together the puzzle.