Ancestry DNA testing might reveal that the guy who raised you wasn’t your real father, as you had previously assumed. As more people take DNA testing out of curiosity, more half-sibling matches will be discovered in your community.
The same thing happened to a group of Indianapolis men who were all descended from the same man: fertility doctor Donald Cline, who was the grandfather of all of them. It may have life-altering and disastrous consequences when doctors breach their patients’ trust.
Unbeknownst to his patients, Cline was doing artificial insemination procedures on himself, which allowed him to possibly father dozens of children. We now have “Our Father,” a Netflix documentary that attempts to expose his horrible past in the hopes of averting another incident like this.
Cline isn’t the only doctor to have cheated on their patients and had their crimes exposed by DNA testing. An upcoming HBO docuseries, “Baby God,” will follow Dr. Quincy Fortier, who did the same thing and fathered at least 26 children without their consent or knowledge.
Our Father Trailer: A Fertility Doctor’s Dark Secret
A top fertility doctor had a sickening secret: he was using his own sperm. Decades later, his “children” band together to pursue justice.
Our Father premieres May 11. pic.twitter.com/MWbDtP7eTa
— Netflix (@netflix) April 14, 2022
At that time artificial insemination was a relatively new science, with much less regulation than it is now. A 1987 survey found that just 2% of doctors acknowledged using their sperm in reproductive procedures.
After the revelation of HIV transmission without freezing, fresh sperm became the standard, which makes the deceit all the more harrowing for those who were tricked by these professionals.
Those born to Cline’s sperm must reconcile their sense of self with the facts about their biological father, but the women who sought his reproductive treatments must also deal with the psychological scars left by his misuse of authority.
When asked in the trailer if his activities are linked to any specific crime, they concede that they are in some way sex crimes. It’s time to tell the tale of Cline’s unexpected children, who have come together to help amend the law to better protect other victims of reproductive fraud.
No, This Isn’t the First Time a Fertility Specialist Used His Sperm
Even after all these years, Netflix still manages to surprise us.
Netflix’s upcoming documentary Our Father, premiering May 11, maybe the most bizarre one yet. We’ve spent many hours on the couch—don’t judge—watching true crime documentaries throughout the years.
During his tenure as an Indianapolis fertility specialist, Donald Cline acknowledged using his sperm more than 50 times to conceive unsuspecting patients. When an at-home DNA test indicated that Jacoba Ballard had seven half-siblings, she began to piece together Cline’s transgressions.
As soon as Ballard started communicating with her new relatives, the house of cards began to fall. According to Netflix, “when the gang set out to find more about their strange family tree, they quickly learned the awful reality.”
— Angela Ganote (@angelaganote) April 14, 2022
As a result, “their parents’ fertility specialist had been secretly injecting his sperm into his patients without their consent.” The truth turned out to be far more sinister than the family had anticipated.
Because they’ve only just begun to unravel his web of falsehoods, Ballard and her newly-discovered siblings are at the center of a chilling tale of an unprecedented violation of trust, as the streamer put it.
Even more disturbing than Our Father is that it’s merely the latest in a long series of documentaries with disturbingly identical content. In 2020, HBO will air Baby God, a documentary on fertility specialist Quincy Fortier, who used his sperm to inseminate patients throughout his 30-year career.
Baby God, on the other hand, portrayed the experiences of the children born as a result of Fortier’s activities, as they sought answers about their pasts and the long-term effects on their families.
Seeds of Deceit, a Dutch docuseries about artificial insemination doctor Jan Karbaat, who is claimed to have fathered close to 200 children by using his sperm in patients, premiered last year.
Monique Busman, a co-producer on Seeds of Deceit, thinks the issue exists today, particularly abroad. “People can no longer give anonymously due to a change in the law passed in 2004, yet there is no central database to track these donations.
The number of clinics where potential donors may donate remains high “Tells Variety, Busman “Additionally, the private sector offers donors the option to gift online without the need for a centralized registry.
A man in the Netherlands just had 250 children. He’s making donations to women’s charities over the internet. It’s a cautionary tale to highlight what might happen if there aren’t enough regulations and rules in place.”
Cline was arrested in 2017 on two charges of obstruction of justice for lying to officials about artificially inseminating patients, which is the focus of the new documentary.
“I was terrified. In my haste, I made a mistake and lied, and I’m sorry “he stated back then. It is with deep sorrow that I beg for your pity and compassion on my behalf.
Cline was never imprisoned.
Since retiring in 2009, Cline was unable to seek the restoration of his medical license in 2018. Our Father comes on Netflix on May 11 and tells the actual tale of Dr. Cline and the family he permanently changed.
Is Our Father Based on a True Story?
Although the guy you see in the video is probably not the actual Dr. Donald Cline, and some of the incidents in the clip undoubtedly look staged, re-enacted, or exaggerated, the narrative itself is all too true.
This photo, taken in 2007 by a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, shows Cline as a practicing physician.
During the 1970s and 1980s, he created a reproductive clinic in Indiana where he admitted to using his sperm in donations, which resulted in at least 50 offspring. DNA testing at home and on social media helped these half-siblings find one another.
At a restaurant, six of them met Cline face-to-face in a meeting arranged by Cline’s natural-born son.
What Happened to Dr. Donald Cline?
While Cline was 79 at the time of his plea agreement in December 2017 to two felonies for lying to investigators about using his sperm at a fertility clinic, he was still eligible for parole. He was sentenced to a year in prison, but it was suspended, thus he did not serve any time behind bars.
At the time, there was no state statute criminalizing the doctor’s activities, but after this case came to light, Indiana did pass a law criminalizing reproductive fraud. In 2018, Cline, who had stopped practicing medicine in 2009, handed over his Indiana medical license.