Years ago, several Indiana residents found out their father, who some had believed to be an anonymous sperm donor or the man who had raised them, was actually their mother’s doctor: Donald Cline.
Cline, once a well-respected fertility doctor in Indianapolis, used his own sperm to inseminate patients without their knowledge for years. Some became pregnant and unknowingly had Cline’s biological children.
In 2015, central Indiana resident Jacoba Ballard took an at-home DNA test that showed she had seven half-siblings. After doing her own research, she suspected Cline fathered the siblings and brought her findings to FOX59’s Angela Ganote.
Ganote helped link Cline to the siblings, as well as proof that he lied to investigators looking into the claims he fathered the children.
The children will soon tell the story in their own words in the Netflix documentary film “Our Father,” coming to the streaming service on May 11.
More than $1.3 million has been paid in civil suits against a former Indiana fertility doctor who surreptitiously provided his sperm to father at least 94 donor children.
Donald Cline and his group, Indianapolis Infertility, Inc., settled in three civil cases filed by three donor children and/or their families. Three other cases are pending.
Why wasn’t he charged criminally?
Although Cline, the subject of the recently released “Our Father” documentary on Netflix, admitted to using samples of his own sperm without his patients’ consent, he never was criminally charged with anything directly relating to those acts, even with DNA evidence showing he fathered the children.
Although a criminal statute was passed in 2019 addressing the type of harm committed by Dr. Cline, Winingham says Cline likely can not be charged under it because the acts were committed before the statute existed.
According to Winingham, generally the statute for most civil medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of injury, but sometimes the statute of limitations can be extended if you discover your injury at some point after those two years.
Cline was ultimately charged with two counts of obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and was sentenced to a $500 fine.
The worst part about all of this is these kids he helped create didn’t all end up healthy. He was never supposed to impregnate that many women especially with all of them living in the same are. The rule of thumb is never the same donor used 3 times. It was meant to students or residents supplying the sperm at first, he made the women sign documents agreeing to this. It had to be fresh of course because we had to keep it warm, remember this wasn’t so easy 20 yrs ago. Needless to say many generations of women and children have been affected by this man. I believe he deserves to be punished, he had all but retired by the time this aired out anyways. Some of his donor children have serious genetic disorders and autoimmune diseases due to what he did and how he went about this. I do not believe he feels bad for his decisions at all. This is just my opinion of course.