Donald Cline from Our Father never faced prison, so here’s where he actually is now
‘He’s still out and about – in his head, I don’t think he thinks he’s done much wrong’
The latest documentary on Netflix that we’re all sinking our teeth into is Our Father. It tells the shocking story of disgraced fertility doctor Donald Cline, who you might think should be in prison now, but despite everything he did, he never actually broke any laws.
Donald Cline was a top fertility doctor who had a sickening secret: He was using his own sperm to impregnate female patients, without them knowing. During this time, DNA testing was not around, so Cline had the assumption he would never be caught out. However, in 2014, when DNA testing was very much a thing, Jacoba Ballard took a 23andMe test and discovered she had multiple half-siblings. The siblings became friends, and realised all their parents had been treated by Cline. They then began to uncover more and more about their family tree and pursued justice against Donald Cline’s dark web of deceit.
So where is Donald Cline now? Here’s everything we know.
You might think Donald Cline should be in prison, but this is where he actually is now
Cline retired in 2009, after practising in Indiana for around 40 years. Today, he is in his 80s and keeping a low profile since everything happened.
Cline was convicted of just two things – hindering the investigation and lying about using his own sperm. In 2017, Cline received a one-year suspended sentence for lying when he’d denied being a sperm donor to unwitting patients. At his sentencing, Cline said he was “very sorry for the pain my actions have caused” but didn’t specify how often he was a sperm donor – court documents say he told Jacoba Ballard it was about 50 times. He was fined just $500 (£400) and, in 2018, lost his medical licence. Cline cannot apply to get his license back.
It is believed he has fathered well over 50 children, with Ballard saying more and more siblings crop up to this day. “We actually had a new sibling pop up the day the [Our Father] trailer dropped,” she said in an interview with The Guardian. At the time of publishing, it has been stated Donald Cline has fathered 94 children.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ballard said some people believe Donald Cline is dead now, but he is very much still alive. “He’s active around his community,” she explained. “He’s going to grandchildren’s swim meets and things like that. There’s no hiding. That’s the thing, he’s still out and about. In his head, I don’t think he thinks he’s done much wrong.”
When asked if Cline had been in contact, Ballard said he had not. “I actually tried to contact him last year,” she said. “I have been sick for two years, and I literally begged him for medical information. And nothing. It’s not just me – I have other siblings who are sick as well. We just want to get some medical information, but we can’t even get that.”
Following this case, in 2019, Indiana became the first US state to make it a felony for fertility doctors to use their own sperm without their patients’ prior knowledge and consent.
Our Father is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
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Featured image via Netflix / Shutterstock.