23andMe Helps Catch A Fertility Doctor Who Impregnated Patients With His Own Sperm

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A former doctor who ran a fertility clinic in the Indianapolis area surrendered his medical license last week after it was brought to light that he allegedly used his own sperm to impregnate his patients in the 1970s and 80s.

Authorities confirmed that DNA testing confirms Donald Cline is the biological father of two women whose mother was a patient of his, according to The New York Times. Additionally, three dozen half-siblings of the two women were discovered through the use of genetic testing companies such as 23andMe and others.

Cline reportedly told patients that he was using their husbands’ sperm or sperm from anonymous donors who resembled their partners.

While the number of women he allegedly impregnated with his own sperm is unknown, Jacoba Ballard, one of the biological daughters, claimed that she expects the number to grow.

“It’s definitely emotional on a lot of different levels, seeing how upset it makes my mom, some of the things that go around in my head, like, ‘Am I the way I am in some respect because he is who he is?’ It plays mind games with you,” Matt White, one of the biological children, told The New York Times. “There’s times I get really angry. I’m confused. Like, why?”

Both White and Ballard reportedly often check genetic testing websites to see if they are matched to any new siblings.

Cline’s lawyer claimed Cline would “continue to defend himself in the appropriate forms,” but did not answer any other questions.

Though Cline is 79 years old, retired in 2009, and had his medical license expire in 2017, he reportedly only surrendered his medical license last week and was barred by a state medical board from ever receiving another.

There is reportedly no law in Indiana prohibiting doctors from unknowingly inseminating their patients with their own sperm; Cline pled guilty in December to two counts of obstruction of justice after he lied to investigators by denying that he had ever used his own sperm. He was given a 365-day suspended sentence. During his hearing — which ten people who believe they are his offspring attended — he apologized “for the pain my actions have caused,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is no longer criminally investigating Cline, The New York Times reports.

White and Ballard are now calling for state lawmakers to make it illegal for doctors to use their own sperm to impregnate patients.

“I want laws changed, I want medical professionals to be held accountable,” Ms. Ballard told The New York Times “As far as peace of mind? I’ll never have that.”

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