Morning Report: DNA Testing Reveals Local Fertility Fraud Cases

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Morning Report: DNA Testing Reveals Local Fertility Fraud Cases

Fertility
Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

Many people have sought out at-home DNA testing kits as a way to learn more about their ancestors and their extended family trees.

But the proliferation of these tests has, in some cases, revealed some surprises about much closer familial ties: the test-takers’ own parents. In a new story, VOSD contributor Jared Whitlock describes how several San Diegans have discovered they’re victims of so-called fertility fraud, and that the fertility doctors handling their parents’ cases used their own sperm when inseminating patients. 

“As their numbers grow, they’re joining forces to support one another and push for legislative changes, including legal rights to their medical histories,” Whitlock writes.

Whitlock details three local cases in which women discovered their biological fathers were actually the fertility doctors their families had turned to for help conceiving. 

Whitlock spoke to one of the doctors, who’s now retired and previously ran the now defunct San Diego Birth Center, about having deceived one patient by using his own sperm to inseminate her.

“I really have no answer,” the doctor said. “I can’t give you a good reason.”

Yes, Humans Are Behind Climate Change

It’s something many science and environment writers deal with regularly: Readers who don’t believe – or are skeptical that – climate change is being accelerated by human behavior. 

For many of these people, no amount of science will change their minds. But for a few, they really don’t understand the science behind the connection. And that presents a learning opportunity.

In the latest Environment Report, Elmer took the latest reader email questioning the connection between man and climate change as a chance to dig into how we know humans are behind climate change.

“When animals and plants die and are buried in the earth for thousands of years, their bodies become the goo we call oil. That oil is full of the carbon that’s lighter than what’s left in the air,” Elmer writes. “This distinction is what scientists can chemically measure.”

New Supes Sworn in

Nora Vargas, Terra Lawson-Remer and Joel Anderson were sworn in Monday as new members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 

Tuesday, they will meet to choose a new chair. The board, for as long as we can remember, has been rotating that honor and responsibility among its members. But Republicans have been in charge of the board since at least the 1960s. 

Supervisor Jim Desmond, a Republican who represents North County, is next up in the rotation, but he’s not likely to get the gavel. Vargas and Lawson-Remer join Nathan Fletcher as a 3-2 Democratic majority, and Desmond and Fletcher have not seen eye to eye on much. 

Desmond, as vice chairman now, will probably manage a meeting where someone else, likely Fletcher, becomes chairman. 

The board will also consider a ton of appointments to boards, including which two supervisors will represent the county on the San Diego Association of Governments. Right now that looks like Lawson-Remer and Anderson. You can peruse all the proposed assignments here.

Why Anderson gets a SANDAG seat: We’ve talked a lot about how important the SANDAG seats were in the supervisors races. If Democrats won the Lawson-Remer race, they could maintain support for Hasan Ikhrata, the executive director of SANDAG, and his grand plans for transit in the region. 

But AB 805, the legislation that reformed the governance of SANDAG preserves a seat for a supervisor who represents a rural area of the county. It appears the Democrats prefer Republican Anderson over Desmond for that. 

Another nugget: Fletcher has been a prominent face in the county’s COVID-19 response because his colleagues put him on the sub-committee advising on the county’s response. He was on it with Supervisor Greg Cox. With Cox now gone, Vargas will get that second seat, if the proposed assignments are adopted by the board. 

Faulconer Announces Gov Exploratory Committee

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer took the next stop in his long, drawn-out flirtation with a run for governor of California by announcing Monday that he’s formed an exploratory committee for a bid

Faulconer announced over the weekend that he supports the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Whether he runs in a special election in the event a recall is successful, or when Newsom is up for re-election in 2022, Faulconer will likely have to contend with more conservative members of his party, including fellow San Diegan John Cox, who ran against Newsom unsuccessfully in 2018. Cox added $1 million to his own exploratory committee as he preps for a potential rematch.

In Other News

  • CalMatters has new details on how California and federal officials are reacting to the discovery of new cases of a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 found in multiple patients in San Diego County. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that four people in San Diego have the new strain and that the state is investigating how they got it.
  • The San Diego Gulls will be the Irvine Gulls this year. The hockey team announced it will play at FivePoint Arena at Great Park Ice in Irvine “to ensure all players within the Anaheim Ducks organization are in one location under the same health protocols.” The team said it would return to San Diego when it was safe to do so. 
  • San Diego DA Summer Stephan announced charges against a former La Mesa police officer who acted violently and aggressively toward a Black man standing outside an apartment complex. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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