Donald Cline was confirmed as the father of at least 48 children born during the 1970s and 1980s The fertility doctor secretly used his own s.p.e.r.m to impregnate women seeking artificial insemination. At least 48 children have been confirmed to be his.
“Fresh s.p.e.r.m” will be sourced from medical students, Donald Cline told the patients. He used his own procedures on dozens of unwitting women in Indiana, US, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Jacoba Ballard, who knew from an early age that she was conceived with the help of sperm donor, began looking for any half-siblings after learning this secret. She used commercial DNA testing.
She only expected to find a few. After Cline confessed what he had done, she said: “I feel like our mothers were violated.”
Liz White, now 68, who is mother of Matt after Cline i.n.s.e.m.i.n.a.t.e.d her over five months in 1981, said: “I feel like I was r.a.p.e.d 15 times.” The woman remembered how his office was filled with pictures of babies that he had helped conceive. That is a detail she said did not strike her at the time but she now finds deeply unsettling.
In 2017, Cline, who retired in 2009, received a one-year suspended sentence for obstructing justice. There were no other charges filed since Indiana law does not explicitly prohibit fertility doctors from using their own s.p.e.r.m.
As of 2014, Jacoba, now 40, has been searching for siblings who share her donor. A woman linked to Cline was found through an online forum for adoptees and donor-conceived people. As soon as she saw her photo, she knew they were related.
That woman connected her with another one whose mother also used Cline – and had a sister. The four of them decided to take DNA tests with 23andMe. There doctors confirmed they were related – and also revealed four further half-siblings were on the database.
Doctor Cline had told his patients that he used each donor for only three successful pregnancies. But they had proof one was used in at least eight.
The birth years also ranged from 1979 to 1986 – and medical students, which Cline said he used, only do three-year residencies. The number of matches grew after further investigating and testing.
Heather Woock, now 35, was stunned when she was contacted through her ancestry.com account, set up as a gift by her husband for her interest in genealogy.
When a group of half-siblings, including Jacoba, met Cline, he confessed to using his own s.p.e.r.m.
Cline apologized “for the pain his actions caused” during his trial. Cline did not specify how many times he had done it, but court documents from Marion County in Indiana reveal Cline told Jacoba he had done it about 50 times.
Several of his children have formed close bonds and Jacoba said: “We feel cheated we didn’t grow up together.”
A growing number of half-siblings were expecting their numbers to rise when DNA testing became popular.