INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local fertility doctor is facing charges that he lied to investigators about donating his own sperm to help his female patients become pregnant.
Dr. Donald Cline, 77, who retired from practice seven years ago, faces two counts of obstruction of justice.
He appeared in a Marion County courtroom Monday to answer to the charges.
A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, according to his attorney Tracy Betz.
According to court documents, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office began investigating after two women came forward complaining that Dr. Cline admitted to them that he had used his own sperm “about 50 times” to help his female patients become artificially inseminated.
According to the court documents, Cline told the women that “he felt he was helping the women because they really wanted a baby.”
Cline later denied the accusation in correspondence once the Indiana Attorney General’s Office began investigating; saying: “”I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample.” He went on to say that anyone making that claim was guilty of slander and libel.
But after conducting DNA tests on the two women and Dr. Cline, investigators discovered that Cline’s DNA matched the two women by 99.9 percent.
The investigation started after an Indiana woman’s daughter learned her father was not her biological father and that she was not an only child. She took a DNA test through 23andMe and learned she was related to at least eight other people. At least three of those eight people were children of mothers who had visited Cline for insemination, court documents state.
The website the woman used analyzes DNA through a saliva-based test. The test provided information of her ancestry, which included genetic makeup from her mother and father’s lines.
Her mother had visited Cline in the early 1980s because she was struggling to conceive.
Cline assisted her with artificial insemination, the documents state, and reportedly would use fresh sperm from a resident or medical student. He said the sperm would not be used for more than three successful pregnancies. Cline did not tell the mother he would be her sperm donor, court documents state.
Cline’s son and daughter met with two former patient’s children after one sent a Facebook message to Cline’s son. They admitted their father donated his own sperm when he didn’t have a donor sample available. They said it happened over a seven-year time span, as many as 50 times.
Court documents state Cline admitted his action were wrong to inseminate the women with his own sperm.
But in a letter to the Attorney General’s Office, Cline said: “In summary, I know I followed suggested guidelines of the period when she was my patient. I also did nothing legally or morally wrong. I have been retired from practice since April 30, 2009.”
He said he didn’t always have access to fresh sperm and never used a sperm bank, but his children claimed he used one.
In addition, Cline said if a woman came back to him to have another baby, he would use his own sperm again to produce siblings. He claimed he gave the mothers a consent for artificial donor insemination form, but the medical records were shredded since they were over seven years old, according to court documents.
Cline said he doesn’t know when he stopped using his own sperm to artificially inseminate women..
Dr. Cline’s attorneys released the following statement following Monday’s court proceedings:
Today Dr. Cline entered a plea of “not guilty” in response to two charged alleging he obstructed justice. 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.”