Our Father True Story: What The Netflix Movie Leaves Out

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Our Father True Story: What The Netflix Movie Leaves Out

Netflix’s true-crime documentary hinted at a similar trend among Dr. Donald Cline’s donor children – their parents had never told them they were conceived through insemination. However, what the documentary doesn’t delve into is why. Dr. Donald Cline explicitly advised his clients not to tell anyone they sought out help with their infertility. Cline exploited the taboo surrounding the practice at the time to hide the diabolically immoral abuse of his own practice. It was a specific directive that they should keep the fact they used a sperm donor secret and never tell their children how they were conceived. The patients he deceived thought they were receiving an expert’s opinion and trusted they were given the right advice.

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Fresh Sperm Is Not The Normal Practice When Using Voluntary Donors

Netflix’s chilling documentary Our Father was produced by horror film specialists Blumhouse Productions – who didn’t hold back delving into the horrific nature of this true story. Dr. Donald Cline’s specialty was fresh sperm rather than the frozen variety that other doctors used. Besides the egregious cases in which Dr. Donald Cline discarded his patient’s husband’s specimen for his own, some patients required a donor. In this case, Our Father confirms Cline lied to his clients that he would be using sperm from anonymous medical residents and that they wouldn’t use the same donor more than three times. The documentary stressed that Cline only ever used warm, fresh sperm, which is highly irregular when using an outside source donor. Typically, the volunteer donors produce their specimens in advance, and the sperm is frozen for future insemination use. In hindsight, the fact he only ever used warm sperm was an alarming red flag.

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Donald Cline Lost His Medical License

As Our Father notes, Cline was only charged with obstruction of justice in 2017 for lying about inseminating his clients with his own sperm. Even though he was found guilty, Donald Cline shockingly never went to jail and was simply made to pay a $500 fine. However, the documentary doesn’t state that he was also stripped of his medical license. This is perhaps due to the fact that the documentary creators felt it unnecessary to note, considering Cline had already retired back in 2009, and it held no weighted consequence for him.
Donor Siblings Successfully Sued Donald Cline

Our Father confirms Dr. Donald Cline served no time in jail for his abhorrent violations, but he has dealt with several civil lawsuits since. Dr. Donald Cline and his group, Indianapolis Infertility, Inc., settled in three civil cases filed by three donor children’s families, and three other cases are pending. So far, more than $1.3 million has been paid in civil suits against the former Indiana fertility doctor. However, most of this was likely paid out through Cline’s malpractice insurance. As a qualified healthcare provider, he would be protected by the Medical Malpractice Act.

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Male Infertility Has Risen At An Alarming Rate

A resounding question many asked after watching the Netflix Original Our Father was why so many couples within a 25-mile radius of Indiana were infertile. While there isn’t much scientific data on Indiana specifically, a countrywide study suggests the fertility rate is plummeting at an alarming rate. Four decades ago, the average Western man had a sperm concentration of 99 million per milliliter. By 2011, that had fallen to 47.1 million. This drop is alarming because sperm concentrations below 40 million per milliliter are considered below normal and can impair fertility. As of 2022, nearly 9% of men of reproductive age in the United States have experienced fertility problems.
Infertility Doctors Using Their Own Sperm Is Disturbingly More Common Than You Realize

Our Father briefly mentions that 44 other infertility doctors have been caught using their own sperm to impregnate their clients. The HBO documentary Baby God tells the story of one of those doctors. Quincy Fortier was a fertility specialist based in Las Vegas who also used his sperm to inseminate his clients without their knowledge and may have fathered hundreds of children. Another similar story happened in the 1940s, when insemination was a fairly new concept. British infertility doctor, Bertold Wiesner, may have fathered over 600 children in a pioneer sperm donor program that he ran with his wife. This twisted practice seems to have been allowed to flourish from the start, and with no federal law strictly forbidding it, these doctors can keep getting away with it as shown on Our Father.

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