‘Our Father’: Who Is Doctor Donald Cline?

Indiana-based fertility doctor Donald Cline admittedly used his own sperm to impregnate over 50 patients without their consent since the 1970s. The new Netflix docuseries Our Father features Jacoba Ballard, who discovered eight siblings after taking a DNA test, ultimately leading to an investigation into the now-retired doctor.

Keith Boyle as Donald Cline in Netflix documentary 'Our Father' sitting down
Keith Boyle as Dr. Donald Cline in Netflix’s ‘Our Father | Netflix

Dr. Donald Cline is a fertility doctor who impregnated patients with his own sperm

After taking a DNA test, Jacoba Ballard, who believed she was an only child, discovered at least eight biological brothers and sisters. Therefore, in 2015, she reached out to FOX59 journalist Angela Ganote.

She launched an investigation into Indianapolis fertility doctor Dr. Donald Cline and discovered he had used his sperm to impregnate several patients without their consent since the 1970s.

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Although he previously denied using his “own sample for insemination” in a letter to the Indiana General’s Office, the retired doctor later admitted his actions during the court hearing.

An affidavit revealed he took accountability for impregnating women with his sperm without their knowledge because he wanted to help those who had difficulty conceiving.

Cline pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice

Cline, who received his degree from the Indiana University School Of Medicine, also admitted using his own “whenever he didn’t have a donor sample available.” Additionally, the retired doctor marked files of women who received his sperm so he could use his again to give the mother full siblings.

According to WXIN, he has produced eight known siblings with five different patients. While the retired doctor acknowledged using his sperm to impregnate patients around 50 times, Ballard claims she has discovered over 90 siblings.

Spokesman Sean Tipton has stated the American Society for Reproductive Medicine didn’t have guidelines surrounding fertility doctors using their own sperm for insemination then.

As he also confessed to intentionally misleading investigators, Cline, 78 at the time, pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.

‘Our Father’ features the investigation into Dr. Donald Cline

In the two-minute trailer, Ballard explained she “felt different” growing up and eventually decided to take a DNA test at the age of 35. It cut to her sibling, Jason Hyatt, who explained he went on Ancestry.com and found “over 3,000 hits.” Another added that “random names” continued to appear that matched as close family, and they discovered they all shared the Cline (Keith Boyle) name.

Knowing him as the “best infertility doctor” in town, they realized he fathered them. “That’s when strange things started happening,” one noted. A sibling pointed out that most of them have blonde hair and blue eyes and consider it “some sick experiment for him” as he seemed to try to create a “perfect Aryan clan.”

Someone wondered how no one figured it out “for decades,” and another presumed patient detailed her conversation with her husband in which she revealed he didn’t father their daughter, Julie, as believed. Ballard explained she contacted every news outlet about the situation and Ganote spoke about her interest in the case, pointing out his “position of power” and role as “elder of the church.”

However, a presumed attorney explained that while Cline committed a “sexual violation,” legally, no crime covered his actions. Another child of the retired doctor’s added that most siblings live within 25 miles of each other and revealed her fear that she could be related to anyone she meets in her town. The trailer ended with presumed Ballard promising never to back down, and someone hypothesized that the doctor is “hiding something more sinister.” Our Father airs on May 11 on Netflix.

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