A former fertility doctor in Indianapolis has been charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, and accused of using his own sperm at his clinic in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dr. Donald Cline was identified after WXIN conducted an investigation into the story of six adults who found out they were related through the same biological father.
DNA testing websites showed that the siblings were genetically related to 70 of Cline’s relatives, according to the Indianapolic Star.
The prosecutor’s office did a paternity test on Cline in August for two of the siblings. Both returned a more than 99 percent probability that he was the father.
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Cline retired in 2009. The allegations surfaced in 2015, prompting the Indiana attorney general to get involved.
Cline sent a letter to the attorney general’s office denying any wrongdoing.
“I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample for insemination,” Cline wrote, according to WXIN. “[I]n fact, if this woman is saying this or writing this I believe she is [guilty] of slander and/or libel.”
“I followed suggested guidelines of the period,” he added, according to court records cited by the Indianapolis Star. “I also did nothing morally or legally wrong.”
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However, Cline reportedly told the six siblings at a meeting earlier in 2016 that he used his own sperm when there was none available from donors.
He went on to explain how he had kept medical records of those who received his sperm, but these were destroyed after seven years in accordance with Indiana state law.
According to court documents, Cline admitted to using his own sperm approximately 50 times.
Until the emergence of AIDS in the 1980s, doctors used fresh sperm to inseminate women at fertility clinics. Frozen or cryopreserved sperm subsequently became the norm.
Dr. Laura Reuter, medical director at Midwest Fertility Specialists, described Cline’s conduct as “deceptive and immoral.” However, she cautioned against judging him by today’s standards.
“We have to go back and remember that that was a different era,” she told the Indianapolis Star.
Obstruction of justice is a felony offense. The next hearing in the case has been set for Oct. 17.