Wednesday May 31, 2023 – A fertility doctor accused of using his sperm to impregnate patients has died after the hand-built plane he was a passenger in fell apart mid-flight and crashed.
Dr. Morris Wortman, 72, of Rochester, was traveling in the experimental aircraft which went down Sunday, May 29 in a pasture in Orleans County, killing both him and the pilot, Earl Luce Jr., authorities said.
The crash of the aircraft, identified by the National Transportation Safety Board as a Wittman W-5 Buttercup airplane, remained under investigation Tuesday May 30.
Preliminary findings indicate that ‘the wings of the aircraft became detached from the fuselage and fell to the ground in an orchard,’ Sheriff Christopher Bourke said in a news release. The fuselage continued west for another 1,000 to 1,500 yards before crashing.
The NTSBP confirmed that it was investigating the ‘crash of a Wittman W-5 Buttercup’, which Luce, 70, had built in an effort to replicate the original plane constructed by Steve Wittman.
The Aviation Safety Network reports that the registration of the plane was N18263 – which matches the description of the one that Luce had built.
His friend Wortman was a well-known gynecologist in western New York who was often the target of anti-abortion protesters.
Wortman was sued in 2021 by Morgan Hellquist, the daughter of one of his patients, whose mom became pregnant in the 1980s.
In January 1985, it was alleged he inseminated her mom, Jo Ann Levy, with sperm which he claimed was that of a medical student but was in fact his.
The lawsuit said the doctor secretly used his own sperm while telling the patient the donor had been a local medical student.
It said Wortman kept the secret even after the daughter, his biological offspring, became his gynecology patient.
The daughter discovered that Wortman was the donor after DNA genealogy tests revealed she had at least nine half-siblings, her medical malpractice suit said.
The civil lawsuit, which is pending in Monroe County Court, said follow-up DNA testing with Wortman´s daughter from his first marriage confirmed the genetic link. According to the lawsuit, Hellquist’s mom was treated by Wortman between 1983 and 1985 where she received sperm injections around two or three times a month for $50 each.