Dr. Donald Cline, a now-retired Indiana fertility doctor who impregnated female patients with his own sperm without their knowledge, has dodged prison time despite outcry from his victims.
Lie Landed Donald Cline in Court
Donald Cline, 79, received a one-year suspended sentence on December 14 after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. He had lied to officials about using his own sperm on women undergoing fertility treatments.
The case arose after a complaint was filed in 2014 by two women who discovered via genetic testing that they were not only related to each other but also to a relative of Cline’s. The two women were tested by the government and it was confirmed that they are indeed the biological daughters of Cline.
Tip of the Iceberg?
While only the two women who filed the complaint were officially tested by the prosecution, many others have been privately tested. It now appears that Cline used his sperm on at least 20 women who visited his clinic and subsequently gave birth.
Many of these women were told that the sperm was donated by medical students and dental residents. Cline admitted he used his own sperm for insemination up to 50 times.
Why Isn’t Donald Cline in Prison?
One might assume that Donald Cline’s unethical insemination of his patients constitutes a crime that deserves prison time. However, it turns out that Indiana does not have any state laws that prohibit doctors from using their own sperm on their patients.
The only illegal thing that Cline did was lie to investigators about what he had done. There is normally a stiffer penalty for obstruction of justice, but the judge lightened Cline’s sentence due to his age and his apparent remorse.
In theory, his medical license would have been a casualty of the court case. But Cline retired in 2009, so revoking his license would amount to nothing at this point.