This week, Netflix released the documentary Our Father, the story of Dr. Donald Cline, a man who used his own sperm to inseminate his patients at his Indianapolis fertility clinic. If that sentence alone doesn’t give you the absolute ick, the film will definitely get you the rest of the way there.
The fascinating and disturbing story explains how Cline got away with illicitly fathering over 90 children (and counting) until a woman named Jacoba Ballard blew the whole story open in 2014. Yes, Cline is her biological father, which she discovered with the advent of DNA tests that showed she had half-siblings all over the place.
Parts of the story are reenacted, and Cline himself is played by actor Keith Boyle. Cline first opened his practice in 1979 and it’s believed he was inseminating women up until 1986. It seems like he thought he’d never get caught. Now that he has been, what is Dr. Cline doing these days? The answer is quite frustrating.
Where is Donald Cline from Our Father now?
Though he fathered almost a hundred people without their parents’ consent, Dr. Donald Cline was still living in his home town of Indianapolis, Indiana, as recently as 2019, according to The Atlantic. He apparently keeps a low profile and still has many supporters in the community.
What penalty did Dr. Cline face for inseminating these patients with his sperm?
Cline eventually lost his license, though this was after his retirement in 2009, according to The Atlantic. He faced a year of a suspended sentence and paid a $500 fine but did not serve jail time.
The documentary suggests the judge knew Cline and was incredibly sympathetic to him, but that remains unconfirmed. A lawyer in the film explained Cline could not be charged with rape (or no one would do it). As many of the victims and experts explain, Cline had to masturbate somewhere nearby the women awaiting insemination. He likely approached the appointment still experiencing the physical effects of his arousal. Many of them say they felt violated and they never would have consented to him being the sperm donor.
However, the district attorney’s office concluded that there was no “force” in the situation, as the women “consented” to being inseminated. It was ultimately decided that without a clearer example of force, an Indiana jury likely wouldn’t qualify this a rape case.
Ultimately, Cline got busted for lying about having used his sperm to the attorney general’s office and for threatening one of his bio children with lawsuits for “slander and libel,” which led to two charges of felony obstruction of justice. He plead guilty to the two counts in 2017, per the AP.
In 2018, a bill was signed into law to make misrepresentation in a medical procedure a felony, and it was spearheaded by Cline’s biological children. They hope this will protect against fertility fraud in future.
One of the chilling facts offered at the end of Our Father is that 44 other fertility doctors have been discovered doing the same thing as Cline since the advent of DNA testing—though not as prolifically.
Why did Dr. Cline use his own sperm?
This is one of the most baffling questions in the documentary. Once the secret began to come out, Cline was practically begging his unacknowledged kids to keep the story secret, insisting it would ruin his standing in his church and community. It was also noted that his clinic was filled with Christian artwork and decorations and it’s heavily implied in the documentary that he had some sort of religious reason for creating lots of blonde blue-eyed children. But no one really knows.
When Cline has admitted to using his own sperm, which he claims he did “sparingly,” he insists all of those babies were healthy. Most of the bio kids interviewed in the film say that, actually, they have similar health problems including blood clotting and autoimmune diseases. Cline has insisted there was no sexual connotation to his actions.
What happened to Donald Cline’s children?
There are 94 of them counted as of now. Many of them live within a tight radius of one another in Indiana, and unfortunately close to Cline. It seems as though many of these adult half-siblings simply want for their story to be told, as they did not get much justice in court. Our Father director Lucie Jourdan said that Cline told her the “world doesn’t need to know” about his misdeeds. She disagrees.
“The catharsis that the film is bringing these siblings, seeing their story finally told, already makes this a wild success to me,” Jourdan said in her director’s statement for the Our Father press notes. “Cline did everything in his power to silence them and the making of this film.”
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io