Bianca Voss wanted a child, but she didn’t have a partner. She went to her OB/GYN in 1983 looking for information and options concerning sperm donors. Nearly a year later, she gave birth to her daughter.
Now, almost 40 years later, Voss is suing the doctor, accusing him of “medical rape” after a recent DNA test showed the OB/GYN is the father of the child.
Coming to Terms with the Truth
Voss filed a civil complaint on Tuesday against Dr. Martin Greenberg, an OB/GYN in Manhattan, NY. She says she paid him $100 in 1983 to procure a sperm sample from an anonymous donor. It wasn’t until the fall of 2020 when Voss and her daughter, Roberta, used a DNA kit from the website 23andMe.com to delve into their ancestry. Results showed her father is a man named Martin Greenberg, now living in Florida.
Voss says both she and her daughter were shocked to see the news appear before their eyes.
“There in black and white, Dr. Greenberg…was identified as my father. Not my possible father, not someone sharing a lot of the same DNA characteristics, it says flat out, he is my father,” Roberta Voss said on Tuesday.
The news means she’s related to a man that abused her mother all those years ago. “It’s horrifying to look in the mirror and see the person who violated my mother and I see his face every time I look in the mirror. I’m in turmoil about who I am, what this means, and what kind of person would do this. And is that a part of who I am? And what about my son?” Roberta Voss said.
For Bianca, the news made her feel like a “victim” after trusting her doctor when she felt most vulnerable.
“I wanted someone anonymous,” Bianca Voss told reporters on Tuesday. “He did say, ‘Do you mind [if] the donor is Jewish?’ And I said ‘no’ and that was it. I kind of thought it might be a medical student from the hospital, but that was it. And then he asked me for the check for $100 to cover the donor, his inconvenience.”
Suing for Damages
Bianca Voss says she’s suing for emotional damages. The suit says she has experienced debilitating anxiety and emotional pain” since hearing the news.
According to the complaint filed by her attorney, Jason Vane, “Dr. Martin Greenberg inserted his own sperm into this patient, Bianca Voss. He did so without her consent and against her wishes. Some people call this horrific act ‘medical rape.’ But regardless of the name, Greenberg’s heinous and intentional misconduct is unethical, unacceptable and illegal.”
The lawsuit doesn’t name an exact dollar amount, but it says, “the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.”
Bianca argues that there was no way she would have approved Greenberg’s decision to use his own sperm. Joe Peiffer, another one of her attorneys, says she never put any restrictions on who the father could be, “But Bianca never ever thought her doctor was inserting his own sperm into her, which she thinks is gross,” Peiffer added.
Bianca and her daughter also want to know about Greenberg’s medical history, as this information could affect Roberta and her future children.
The lawsuit adds, “Aware that Greenberg’s son unfortunately passed away at an early age, she wanted to know if she may have inherited a concerning medical condition. She also wanted to know if she may have passed on such a condition to her own child.”
Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan with the NYU School of Medicine says this issue may be more common that we realize, now that consumer DNA tests have skyrocketed in popularity. “We’ve operated for decades with no framework at all,” Caplan said of the reproductive industry. “I think you’ll see more of this. People are freezing their eggs and donating them, but not realizing today that they can get discovered in 20 years.”
Greenberg, who’s still living in Florida, has yet to respond to the suit.