The daughter of an Indiana fertility doctor who used his own sperm to artificially inseminate his patients without their consent has revealed she ‘fears the avalanche of siblings’ will never stop.
A new Netflix film, released today, ‘Our Father:‘chronicles how a woman’s DNA test led to the sickening discovery that the once lauded Dr. Donald Cline secretly fathered dozens of his patients’ children at his clinic in Indianapolis in the ’70s and’ 80s.
The documentary directed by Lucie Jourdan features Jacoba Ballard – one of the first people to learn that Cline was her biological father – and many of her half-siblings.
Speaking to The Guardian, Jacoba revealed how she ‘actually had a new sibling pop up the day the trailer’ came out, with the film’s director Lucie explaining: ‘You could watch this and be oblivious to the fact that you’re part of it, then suddenly everyone in the film is your sibling. There’s a high likelihood that’s going to happen. ‘
Jacoba Ballard, Tthe he daughter of Indiana fertility doctor Dr Cline who used his own sperm to artificially inseminate his patients without their consent has revealed she ‘fears the avalanche of siblings will never stop’
Speaking to The Guardian, Jacoba revealed how she ‘actually had a new sibling pop up the day the trailer’ for a new Netflix documentary about Cline came out (pictured)
Meanwhile Lucie said the siblings ‘kept coming like an avalanche’, while Jacoba explained: ‘So many of them do not even know they were donor-conceived, and some believed they came from their dad’s sperm.
‘Every time we get a new match I give them this news, and it’s like I’m ruining their life.’
The pair confessed they hoped the film leads to ‘everyone’ getting tested, with Lucie saying: ‘Before he was a fertility doctor, Cline was a gynaecologist.
‘Anyone who saw him and happened to be pregnant after seeing him for any reason should test. It’s sickening, but I think it’s a call to action. ‘
An initial DNA test led Ballard (pictured with some of her half siblings) to find out she seven half-siblings. She continued to discover more and more:
Ballard, who grew up an only child, had known she was conceived via sperm donor since she was 10 years old.
‘Growing up, I felt different,’ she explained in the film’s shocking new trailer.
In 2014, the then 33-year-old signed up for an online forum for adoptees and donor-conceived children in an attempt to find her half-siblings.
In Sarah Zhang’s 2019 article for The Atlantic, ‘The Fertility Doctor’s Secret,’ she explained how she quickly connected with another woman whose mother had also been treated by Cline.
As soon as she saw her Facebook photos, she knew they had to be related.
That woman knew another woman whose mother had also gone to Cline, and she had a sister.
The new Netflix documentary ‘Our Father’ details how Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility specialist in Indianapolis, Indiana, used his own sperm to inseminate patients without their consent
The four of them took 23andMe tests to confirm they were half-sisters, but the results revealed they also had four more half-siblings.
They continued to search for their: biological father by cross-matching their DNA with public databases to find relatives, and the name ‘Cline’ kept popping up.
They eventually: tracked down a relative distant who shared that she had a cousin named Donald Cline who was a fertility specialist in Indianapolis.
Cline had told his patients that the donors were medical residents, claiming he only used each donor’s sperm for three successful pregnancies. But their unusually large number of half-siblings told a different story.
Cline secretly fathered dozens of children through his fertility clinic in the ’70s and’ 80s (pictured)
Jacoba (pictured) knew she was conceived via sperm donor and was one of the first people to discover Cline was her father
While searching for answers, four of the eight siblings: filed complaints with Indiana’s attorney general and asked for their suspicions that Cline had used his own sperm in patients to be investigated.
In 2015, Ballard sent a Facebook message to Fox59 news anchor Angela Ganote asking for her help. The local station aired a segment about a suspiciously high number of children from one donor at the time, but Cline was not named.
‘He’s known in our community as a philanthropist. He’s an elder of the church, ‘Ganote said of Cline’s reputation in the trailer.
It was Cline’s son who helped organize a meeting between the doctor and six of the newly-discovered half-siblings, including Ballard.
During the reunion, Cline allegedly admitted to using his own sperm but said their medical records had been destroyed.
Around the time The Atlantic article was published, the number of children Cline fathered with his patients was known to be more than 50.
Cline was a highly-respected fertility doctor a the time. He told his patients the donors were medical residents, claiming he only used each donor’s sperm for three successful pregnancies:
Jason Hyatt (pictured) recalled his shock when he discovered how many relatives he had due to Cline’s horrific deception
‘When I opened up Ancestry, I had over 3,000 hits,’ Jason Hyatt recalled in the trailer, while someone else added: ‘I dread every new match that comes, but they just keep coming.’
Another person explained that the majority of Cline’s secret children ‘live in a 25-mile radius of each other,’ meaning they aren’t sure who they are and aren’t related to in the area.
‘You’re praying, “Please don’t let it be somebody I know. Please don’t let it be somebody I dated,”‘ one woman shared.
For years, Ballard and her half-siblings have wondered what led Cline to lie to his patients and use his own sperm to impregnate them.
‘Most of us have blonde hair, blue eyes. It was almost like this perfect Aryan clan, ‘Ballard said in the documentary. ‘It’s disgusting.’
Meanwhile, Matt White could not help but ask how did ‘no one know’ for decades that Cline was using his own sperm to impregnate women
Julie Harmon’s mother, Dianna Kiesler, recalled how she had to tell her husband their daughter was not biologically his
‘I think it was some sick experiment for him,’ another suggested.
Meanwhile, Matt White could not help but ask: ‘How the f ** l did no one know for decades?’
His mother, Liz White, had been trying to conceive with her husband for two and a half years when their fertility doctor referred them to Cline, who used fresh donor sperm instead of frozen, which had a higher success rate at the time.
Cline allegedly told them that he’d find a medical resident whose appearance and blood type matched her husband’s. He also urged them not to tell anyone about the sperm donor, including their future child.
The mother, who was inseminated by Cline 15 times over five months, did not discover he had been using his own sperm until he was in the news.
Another person explained that the majority of Cline’s secret children ‘live in a 25-mile radius of each other,’ meaning they aren’t sure who they are and aren’t related to in the area
Cline, who was retired and in his early 80s, was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice for denying the allegations
‘I feel like I was raped 15 times,’ she told The Atlantic.
Julie Harmon also saw a TV news story about Cline, years after she discovered that her blood type indicated she was not biologically related to one of her parents.
In the documentary, her mother, Dianna Kiesler, recalled how Cline led her to believe that he had inseminated her with her husband’s sperm.
Cline lost his medical license and was fined just $ 500 for his actions:
‘I had to tell my husband, “We’re just finding out now that Julie is not yours,”‘ she said as her daughter cried next to her.
Ballard and her half-siblings were determined to seek justice, but his actions weren’t technically considered a crime. At the time, there weren’t any Indiana laws that prohibited the secret use of a doctor’s own sperm.
‘I do not deny that it was a sexual violation. But legally, there’s just no crime that touches this particular act, ‘Tim DeLaney, the prosecutor in the case, explained in the documentary.
Cline, who was retired and in his early 80s, was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice for denying the allegations. He lost his medical license and was fined just $ 500.
In 2019, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new law making fertility fraud and illegal deception in the state. However, Cline’s case was far from over in the eyes of his victims.
‘He’s hiding something more sinister,’ one person insisted at the end of the trailer.