INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA—A former patient of Reproductive Endocrinology Associates has filed a proposed complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance alleging negligence, constructive fraud, and battery, against Dr. Donald Cline. The complaint alleges that Dr. Cline surreptitiously, improperly and without consent used his own sperm to artificially inseminate the patient. According to the complaint, the patient saw Dr. Cline in September of 1981 for artificial insemination. The complaint states that Dr. Cline offered to perform artificial procedures to his patients using donor sperm that was sourced from anonymous medical school residents. At no time did Dr. Cline ever disclose to the patient that he would use his own sperm to inseminate them, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that Dr. Cline had a policy in which specimens from a single donor were to be used in no more than three successful artificial insemination procedures in a well-defined geographic area. The policy was important to limit the risk of accidental incest resulting from many closely biologically related individuals living near each other and unaware of their biological relationships, according to the complaint.
A Probable Cause Affidavit was filed in a related criminal case pending in Marion Circuit Court on September 9, 2016. The Affidavit alleges that another possible offspring of Dr. Cline’s had taken a DNA test through “23andMe” and found she was related to at least 8 other people on the site. 23andMe is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company that analyzes DNA through a saliva-based test. The Affidavit alleges that this patient contacted Dr. Cline and received the same explanation regarding the source of sperm and the limit on the number of successful pregnancies per donor. The Affidavit states that “the time span between the youngest and oldest sibling is eight years, which raised concern as to how a medical resident of doctor in training could have been available as a donor for 8 years.” According to the Affidavit, a television news reporter interviewed multiple siblings that discovered each other through DNA websites and learned their mothers all went to Donald Cline’s clinic for their insemination.
The Affidavit states that Dr. Cline “kept track of which patients received his sperm because he put an asterisk on their charts.” If the patients came back and wanted another baby, “he would use his sperm again to produce full sibling,” the Affidavit alleges. According to the Affidavit, Dr. Cline stated that all the medical records had been shredded.
The Affidavit states that Dr. Cline met with six siblings during Spring of 2016. During that meeting, he admitted to donating his sperm “around 50 times,” according to the Affidavit. Also stated in the Affidavit, Dr. Cline allegedly stated that “if he would have known that DNA would have come this far and this would have come out, he would not have done it.”
The Affidavit alleges that Dr. Cline admitted to doing wrong by inseminating the women with his own sperm, but “felt pressured to use his own sperm because he didn’t always have access to fresh sperm.”
According to the Affidavit, a search warrant was granted on July 27, 2016 to obtain a buccal cell sample from Dr. Donald Cline for DNA comparison/analysis to his alleged offspring. On August 19, 2016, the paternity results were returned, and Dr. Cline was allegedly matched to one sibling by a percentage of 99.9997% and a second sibling by a percentage of 99.998%, according to the Affidavit.
The Affidavit states that Dr. Cline responded to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office in a written statement that he “never used his own sperm sample for insemination.” Yet, according to the Affidavit, his alleged admissions to two victims, one in a recorded phone call, contradict the written statements to the AG’s investigation. Further, the Affidavit alleges that the results from the DNA analysis test “factually state that Dr. Cline is the biological father” of two victims.
The Affidavit for Probable Cause filed in the Marion Circuit Court and the Proposed Complaint filed with the Indiana Department of Insurance are both public records.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our investigation into this matter is ongoing. If you are a former patient of Dr. Cline, or otherwise have any information or knowledge concerning any these matters, or matters related to the allegations in the proposed complaint, please contact us confidentially by calling 877-769-5377.