Two staffers at N.Y. hospital charged with running unlicensed sperm bank Pair allegedly sold own semen

April 26, 1992|By Robin Schatz | Robin Schatz,Newsday

NEW YORK -- Two staff members at Mount Sinai Medical Center here ran their own unlicensed sperm bank in which they were the only donors, misleading doctors and patients and ignoring good safety practices, New York health officials say.

Mount Sinai Hospital medical resident Douglas Moss and Jerald H. Tedeschi, an employee of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Medical School, allegedly earned about $9,000 from October 1989 until January of this year by selling their fresh semen to four New York City doctors for use in the artificial insemination of women, according to an investigation by the state Department of Health.

Using fresh semen for anonymous donor insemination is against the law in New York state because of the threat of AIDS transmission. State regulations require that semen be frozen and quarantined, so a donor can be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus twice -- once when he donates and then six months later. Once the donor tests negative for a second time, the sample may be used.

About a dozen women were inseminated with the semen samples on at least 72 occasions, resulting in at least five pregnancies, according to investigators.

"Luckily enough, we don't have any evidence of disease in these cases," said Peter Slocum, a health department spokesman.

The two Mount Sinai employees now face civil charges from the health department. In addition, charges were filed against Mount Sinai Medical Center and two doctors who allegedly used the sperm. Health department officials said no decision has been made whether to pursue criminal charges for fraud.

Mr. Moss, a graduate of St. George's Medical School in Grenada and a Manhattan resident, works in Mount Sinai's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science. Mr. Tedeschi, 45, who lives on Long Island, directs the medical school's teaching laboratory. Mr. Moss could not be reached for comment on the charges, and Mr. Tedeschi refused to comment.

They have been charged with 17 violations of the state's semen banking regulations, each carrying a potential civil fine of $2,000.

The state filed charges against two Mount Sinai doctors -- Michael Brodman and Frederick Friedman -- who have an obstetrics and gynecology practice there. These physicians, who health department sources say purchased semen from Mr. Moss, were charged with the operation of an unlicensed insemination site, performing inseminations with fresh sperm, failing to keep complete and accurate records and procuring semen from an unlicensed party. The charges carry a potential fine of $8,000.

Mount Sinai, also charged by the health department, faces fines of up to $10,000 because the doctors inseminated women there.

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