Fertility Fraud Bill Passes House, Could Go to Holcomb This Week
(INDIANAPOLIS) - An Indianapolis fertility specialist who secretly inseminated patients with his own sperm faced no criminal charges other than lying to investigators. Legislators are about to approve a bill to change that.
Donald Cline's patients believed they had been artificially inseminated with donor sperm, until their now-adult children began researching their genes and discovered Cline had been the donor, fathering at least 41 children. The half-siblings believe the total will surpass 50. Cline received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty in 2017 to obstruction of justice for lying to investigators. But prosecutors concluded Indiana's fraud laws couldn't be stretched to charge him directly with misleading his patients.
Rolling Prairie Representative Jim Pressel's bill specifically adds fertility treatments and other medical procedures to the law which makes it a misdemeanor to misrepresent property you're selling. Medical cases, including sperm or eggs, would be felonies, carrying up to three years in prison.
Pressel says the law needs to create accountability for the hardships caused by actions like Cline's.
The bill also allows lawsuits for fertility fraud, with a longer than usual deadline to file the case, in recognition of how long it's likely to take for cases to come to light.
The House approved the bill unanimously. Pressel says he expects the Senate to approve a minor change to a provision calling for further study of fertility-related issues. That vote could come this week and would send the bill to Governor Holcomb.
(Photo: Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock)