Retired fertility doctor Donald Cline , who retired in 2009 and whose medical practice was based in Indianapolis recently entered a not guilty plea on felony charges for obstruction of justice based on statements he provided to investigators.
Cline is being accused of having used his own sperm (up to 50 times) on his patients that were battling infertility—without their consent.
Media reports have indicated how Cline told his patients that the donor sperm used were from medical students. He also conveyed how a donor would be discontinued after three successful pregnancies were reached.
Angela Ganote, a reporter for Fox59, brought this case to light after interviewing siblings who had an unknown biological link to Cline.
From reports, it all started when a woman decided to take a 23andMe DNA test.
Wanting to keep her anonymity, this woman told Fox59 that she was raised as an only child. She was aware that her conception occurred via artificial insemination; however, she was dumbfounded when her DNA results revealed she had eight other siblings – and possibly more. She and her siblings had genetic ties to Cline.
Reports noted how things began to unravel for Cline in 2014 when two of his donor children launched complaints with their State Attorney General. Those complaints evolved into a criminal case.
According to the media, Cline replied to those initial complaints in a letter (sections below):
“I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample for insemination,” and “in fact, if this woman is saying this or writing this I believe she is guilt of slander and/or libel.”
According to DNA tests results, Cline’s original statement is purported to be false. And at a later time, it appears he recanted this earlier version as compared to the court records which became available this year. He did disclose the knowledge of having biological children via artificial insemination.
“He [Cline] used his own sperm whenever he didn’t have a donor sample available.” The court records went on to cite, “He felt that he was helping women because they really wanted a baby.”
“The overriding issue is truthfulness,” Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Tim DeLaney said. He continued, “From our perspective the moment it got elevated to an investigation by the AG’s office, it was his obligation to tell the truth and he lied.”
Following Cline’s not guilty plea, his attorney released a statement.
“There seems to be some confusion in the media as to the ‘crime’ that Dr. Cline was actually charged. The charges arise solely from his written response to inquiries from the Indiana Attorney General’s office and nothing more. He is not accused of hiding documents, influencing witnesses or otherwise not cooperating with the AG’s investigation. Because we are at the beginning of the criminal procedure, any further comments must be reserved so that the judicial process can proceed in the appropriate manner,” the attorney said.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is for the jury to decide.