Fertility Doc Gets No Jail Time For Lying About Using Own Sperm
INDIANAPOLIS -- The retired Indianapolis fertility doctor who lied to investigators about inseminating patients with his own sperm will not go to jail.
Dr. Donald Cline, 79, pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice in a Marion County court on Thursday.
Prosecutors say Cline denied using his own sperm when originally confronted by investigators.
Cline's 365-day sentence was suspended by the judge, but the two counts will remain as felonies on his record. The judge noted the doctor's age, as well as jail overcrowding, as reasons for the suspended sentence.
Court records indicate Cline is the biological father of at least two of his former clients' children and might also be the father of 20 others.
According to court documents obtained by CNN, Cline confessed to a group of his possible offspring that he had donated his own sperm about 50 times. The retired doctor admitted to "doing wrong...but felt that he was helping women that really wanted a baby." He also said he felt pressured into what he'd done because he "didn't always have access to fresh sperm".
Cline did not face additional charges because Indiana law doesn't prohibit fertility doctors from inseminating clients with their own sperm.
Liz White, one of Cline's former patients, told WIBC-newsgathering partner RTV6 that she wants a state law prohibiting it.
"I want accountability," White said. "When someone has misled someone, particularly in the field of medicine, there is accountability to it. Second, I want a state statute so it becomes a crime, not an ethical issue."
Many states, like Indiana, have no specific law against the practice.
"This kind of thing happens very rarely, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine doesn't keep numbers on it," society spokeswoman Eleanor Nicoll told CNN.
Whether Cline will face legal action from any of his alleged offspring is unknown.
(Photo by RTV6.)