was an OB/GYN doctor in Idaho and former Mormon temple president and mission president in the Philippines; admitted in 2019 to secretly using his sperm to artificially inseminate multiple women; a civil suit against him was dismissed with prejudice in 2021, possibly because of a private settlement agreement

Case report

Gerald Mortimer was an LDS church member and obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) in Ammon, Rigby and Idaho Falls, Idaho who served as a Mormon mission president (San Pablo Philippines, 2005-2008) and temple president (Cebu City Philippines, 2010-2012). He admitted to secretly using his own sperm to artificially inseminate one of his patients.

FLOODLIT has chosen to include Mortimer in this database because we believe that the crime he admitted to was of a sexual nature.

Mortimer was bishop of the Ammon 5th Ward in Ammon, Idaho in 1992.

He delivered his biological daughter in May 1981 – without her parents knowing that he had supplied his own sperm to her birth mother, according to a lawsuit filed by the biological daughter and her birth mother against Mortimer in 2018.

In 2016 or 2017, the woman Mortimer had secretly fathered took a DNA test and was surprised to see that it matched her with Mortimer, a man she didn’t know, the lawsuit says.

Her mother checked the test results and was devastated, according to the lawsuit.

Her mother and her mother’s ex-husband grappled for several months over whether to tell their daughter who Mortimer was, the lawsuit says.

In the fall of 2017, the biological daughter was helping her father clean his house, she found her birth certificate – and on it, Dr. Gerald Mortimer’s signature.

from the Church News on 2009-10-03:

“Gerald Elbert Mortimer, 66, Ammon 5th Ward, Ammon Idaho Stake, called as president of the new Cebu City Philippines Temple. President Mortimer’s wife […] will serve as temple matron. President Mortimer is the area medical adviser for the Idaho Pocatello and Idaho Boise Missions, and serves as a Sunday School teacher and temple ordinance worker. He has served as president of the Philippines San Pablo Mission, stake president’s counselor, bishop, bishop’s counselor and ward Young Men president. A retired physician, he was born in Payson, Utah […].”

SL Trib article

Allegedly, this case ended in an undisclosed settlement.

Boise, Idaho • An eastern Idaho fertility doctor accused in a lawsuit of secretly using his own sperm to inseminate a patient nearly four decades ago says he did nothing wrong and doesn’t remember using his own sperm for the procedure.

Dr. Gerald Mortimer, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist from Idaho Falls who once served as president of an LDS Church temple and a church mission in the Philippines, filed his response to the lawsuit in Idaho’s U.S. District Court on Wednesday. In it, he contends his patient agreed to let him select the “anonymous donor sperm” as long as he judged it to be appropriate and safe.

Kelli Rowlette and her parents Sally Ashby and Howard Fowler filed the lawsuit against Mortimer in March, contending that the doctor committed medical malpractice, breach of contract and fraud when he carried out the artificial insemination procedures on Ashby over several months in 1980.

At the time, the couple was told Ashby had a tipped uterus and Fowler had a low sperm count. They say Mortimer told them he could attempt to inseminate Ashby using a mixture of genetic material, with 85 percent of the sperm coming from Fowler and 15 percent coming from an anonymous donor. Ashby and Fowler maintain that they agreed to the process, as long as the donor sperm came from a college student who resembled Fowler: more than 6 feet tall with brown hair and blue eyes.

Rowlette was born the following year, and her parents never told her how she was conceived. It wasn’t until Rowlette took at DNA test through the genealogy company Ancestry.com and got an unexpected result — the company predicted that Mortimer, who had also apparently submitted a DNA sample to the company at some point, was her father.

The couple says they wouldn’t have agreed to the insemination procedure if they’d known Mortimer was going to use his own semen.

Mortimer, meanwhile, denies the allegations.

“Dr. Mortimer admits only that Ms. Ashby decided to use anonymous donor sperm/semen in an artificial insemination process as long as, in Dr. Mortimer’s judgment, the anonymous donor sperm was appropriate and safe,” Mortimer’s attorneys Raymond Powers and Portia Rauer wrote on his behalf. “Dr. Mortimer has no recollection of having utilized his sperm/semen in the artificial insemination process with Ms. Ashby, and therefore, denies the allegations.”

A news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dated Oct. 3, 2009 announced Gerald Elbert Mortimer and wife Linda Gay McKinnon Mortimer as the president and matron, respectively, of the then-new Cebu City Philippines Temple, The Tribune has reported.

Gerald Mortimer previously served as president of the Philippines San Pablo Mission and was the area medical adviser for the Idaho Pocatello and Idaho Boise missions. Mortimer is originally from Payson, Utah, and his wife was born in Logan.

IDAHO FALLS — A retired Idaho Falls gynecologist sued last year for allegedly using his own sperm to inseminate a woman admitted to the wrongdoing in sworn testimony.

Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer, the accused physician, previously denied having any memory of using his sperm to inseminate the eggs of patients seeking fertility treatments. But now Mortimer has confessed not only to inseminating one patient in this way, but multiple, according to court documents recently discovered by EastIdahoNews.com.

Kelli Rowlette, a Washington resident and Mortimer’s biological child, filed the initial case in March of last year. Rowlette is the child he fathered with one of his patients, Sally Ashby. Ashby and Howard Fowler, who were married in 1980 when the incident took place, sought fertility treatments from Mortimer when they were unable to conceive a child. Fowler and a donor both provided sperm for Mortimer to use in the insemination process. However, Mortimer, without Ashby or Fowler’s knowledge or consent, used his own sperm instead.

RELATED | Idaho Falls doctor artificially impregnated patient with his own semen, lawsuit claims

When attorneys involved in the case initially deposed Mortimer, he denied having any knowledge of using his sperm to inseminate Ashby or any of his other patients. However, in December 2018, Mortimer changed his story, according to court documents.

Rowlette’s attorney, Shea Meehan, questioned Mortimer while he was under oath. Meehan asked if Mortimer previously lied about not being able to remember using his own sperm to inseminate Ashby, and Mortimer admitted to the fabrication.

“I was ashamed,” Mortimer said. “I regret the fact that I was a sperm donor; that I did those things in the past. I guess I feel bad about that. I wish I hadn’t done it.”


In his deposition, Mortimer admits to masturbating at his office and giving a nurse the semen samples that were to be used. Mortimer confessed to using his own sperm at least twice, but less than 10 times to inseminate patients. He said no one else in his office knew about the practice, and he doesn’t recall when he began or stopped using his own semen.

He was employed at Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates of Idaho Falls from 1977 to 2005. Court documents indicate he left the practice because he feared he would be caught.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates is listed as a defendant in the Rowlette case. The lawsuit claims the clinic is vicariously liable for Mortimer’s alleged actions and for “failure to exercise due care to control Mortimer so he would not injure patients.” None of the doctors currently at the clinic were working there when Mortimer was practicing.

RELATED | Fertility doctor denies using own sperm to impregnate patient

Mortimer remained Ashby and Fowler’s physician through and after the delivery of Rowlette. Mortimer admitted to knowing Rowlette was his child at the time of her birth as he was delivering her, according to the deposition.

“How violated I felt by the doctor, knowing what he had done, and that he continued to see her (Rowlette) every appointment that we had when I was pregnant for Nick (Rowlette’s half-brother). And I was in a state of shock for quite a while,” Ashby said in a video deposition recorded in August 2018.

Neither Rowlette nor her parents knew about Mortimer’s role in Rowlette’s conception until she completed a DNA test on Ancestry.com. Through a family search function, the website linked her DNA with Mortimer’s — a man she didn’t know and couldn’t remember ever meeting. At first, Rowlette assumed that the website made a mistake.

“I thought the test was incomplete or wrong,” Rowlette stated in her deposition. “I thought it was impossible.”

In fact, it wasn’t until Rowlette got a copy of her birth certificate and saw the doctor who delivered her was Gerald E. Mortimer — the same man Ancestry.com had identified as her father — that she believed the DNA results were accurate. At that point, with the support of Ashby and Fowler, Rowlette decided to file suit against Mortimer.

RELATED | Doctor who allegedly used own semen to impregnate patient wants case dismissed

Although the case has been active since March 2018, Mortimer and his attorneys, Portia Rauer and Raymond Powers, filed a motion for summary judgment in April 2019. Summary judgment is when a court enters a judgment for one party without a full trial. Both parties presented oral arguments to Judge David C. Nye in September, and the court will issue a written decision when a conclusion is reached.

Rowlette and her family are seeking an undisclosed amount of more than $75,000 in damages.

Neither Mortimer’s attorneys nor Rowlette’s have responded to requests for comment. However, no further formal court proceedings are expected to take place until January 2020 at the earliest, according to court documents.

Nonetheless, Rowlette and her parents are not the only family impacted by Mortimer’s actions. Mortimer’s admission of using his sperm to inseminate multiple patients creates the possibility that although Rowlette is the only biological child of Mortimer’s to sue him, she may not be the last.

Case facts

Case photos

Case videos

    • Video title: Woman Files Lawsuit After DNA Test Allegedly Says Her Biological Dad Was Fertility Doctor
    • Video description: Ancestry.com is out here changing people’s lives—but it’s not always for the better. According to the Washington Post, one woman who took the website’s DNA test discovered her biological father was not the man who had raised her; he was actually a now-retired fertility doctor who allegedly used his own sperm to impregnate her mother 36 years ago. After [Jane Doe] received the shocking news, she and her family filed a lawsuit against Dr. Gerald E. Mortimer for medical negligence, fraud, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. According to the suit, [Doe] was not aware that her now-divorced parents had undergone artificial insemination after unsuccessful attempts at natural conception. Mortimer reportedly told the couple that the issue was caused by the husband’s low sperm count and the wife’s tipped uterus; so, he suggested that the wife be inseminated with a mix of the husband’s sperm and that of an anonymous donor to increase the changes of conception.

Case information sources

  1. Plan July Weddings
    view source details | 2 Jul 1967 | Herald-Journal
  2. New temple presidents
    view source details | 3 Oct 2009 | Church News
  3. Idaho OB/GYN accused of secretly being donor to get patient pregnant
    view source details | 6 Apr 2018 | Idaho Statesman
  4. Retired Idaho doctor and Mormon temple president denies fraud in insemination lawsuit
    view source details | 30 May 2018 | The Salt Lake Tribune

Case information source details

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