'Our Father': What Happened to Dr. Donald Cline and Where Is He Now?

Netflix is showing no sign of slowing down with its gripping true-crime content.

The latest documentary to land on the global streaming platform is the haunting case surrounding Dr. Donald Cline, a disgraced fertility doctor, and once a respected expert in the field.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Cline artificially inseminated his female patients with his own sperm, not that of their donors, without their permission or knowledge. The scale of his actions and their outcomes were not discovered until 2014 and continue to be uncovered today.

Our Father follows several of his "children," who have learned they are half-siblings, as they recall the day they realized Cline was their father and what they did next to expose the truth.

However, they could have never imagined the darkness and depths of their experience.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about Dr. Donald Cline and his whereabouts today.

our father jacoba ballard
Jacoba Ballard in Our Father. Ballard found out she was the daughter of Cline after taking a DNA test to find her half-siblings. Netflix

What Happened to Dr. Donald Cline?

Dr. Donald Cline was once a respected fertility doctor from Indianapolis, Indiana.

However, it turned out he had a sickening secret. For years, he had been inseminating his female patients with his own sperm, without their knowledge, or their consent.

His victims had been under the impression they were receiving either a donor sperm from a registered sperm bank, or it was the sperm of their husband.

He is believed to have used his own sperm on patients between 1979 and 1986, masturbating in the neighbouring bathrooms before inserting his semen into his patients via artificial insemination, as heard in the Netflix documentary, Our Father.

In total, Cline is believed to have fathered 94 children and potentially, many more, reveals Our Father on Netflix.

The true nature of Cline's medical practice may have remained a secret if it was not for the curiousness of Jacoba Ballard, coupled with the advancements in DNA testing.

In 2014, Jacoba Ballard, then 35 years old, decided to do a 23AndMe DNA test. In Our Father, Jacoba recalls always knowing she was different with blonde hair and bright blue eyes compared to her dark-hair and dark-featured family.

After knowing she was conceived via a sperm donor, out of interest, she set out to find her half-siblings.

At the time, Cline told his patients the sperm donors were medical residents (which are temporary positions), using each donor for only three pregnancies. So, when she got hit with seven matches, Jacoba and her half-siblings knew something was not right.

Together, she and her half-siblings teamed up to find their biological father, eventually leading them to Dr. Donald Cline.

They did meet with Dr. Cline, where he admitted to using his own sperm but insisted all records had been destroyed years ago. They have never found out why he carried out the actions he did.

Alongside Jacoba, several of her half-siblings appear in Netflix's Our Father, recounting their experience of shock, anger, and ultimate disbelief in finding out the truth including: Julie Harmon (#14), Matt White (#17), Heather Woock (#22), Lisa Shepherd-Stidham (#33), Jason Hyatt (#48), Carrie Foster (#53) and Alison Kramer (#61).

All of the half-siblings have had their biological relations confirmed by 23andMe.

After struggling to capture the attention of the DA and media, Angela Ganote from the local TV station, Fox59, finally took Jacoba and her half-sibling's story seriously, despite Dr. Cline's personal and direct pleas not to run the story to protect his reputation and marriage.

In 2017, a criminal investigation was eventually launched when four of Cline's "children" filed a complaint about him to Indiana's Attorney General.

However, as there is no law or legal structure in place criminalizing the act of a doctor inseminating a patient with his own sperm, he could not be criminally charged, even when two paternity tests filed as evidence in his criminal case named Cline as the biological father of two of his patient's children.

Instead, he was charged with two counts of obstructing justice.

Where is Dr. Cline Now?

Today, Dr. Cline remains a free man.

In 2017, Dr. Cline pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted he inseminated patients with his own semen without their consent or knowledge. He was 79 years old at the time of his conviction.

He received a one-year suspended sentence, a $500 fine and ultimately, served no prison time.

Dr. Cline also lost his medical license, but he had retired nearly a decade earlier in 2009. Unfortunately, very little is known about his whereabouts today.

In a statement to Netflix, Our Father director Lucie Jourdan shared that advocates, Cline's offspring, and the mothers had successfully campaigned to have laws passed criminalizing Clines' deeds.

Indiana became the first state in the U.S. to make it illegal for fertility doctors to use their own sperm without a patient's consent.

However, today there is still no federal law that makes Cline's acts a criminal offense.

She shared: "The catharsis that the film is bringing these siblings, seeing their story finally told, already makes this a wild success to me.

"Cline did everything in his power to silence them and the making of this film.

"The world doesn't need to know," he said. Well, we disagree. May their voices reverberate across the globe as the depravity of his actions is finally brought to light."

Our Father is streaming on Netflix now.

our father netflix
Keith Boyle as Donald Cline in Our Father on Netflix Netflix

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