Indianapolis Fertility Doctors Scandal Documentary Releases This Week | News
Indiana (WLFI) — Netflix is set to release a documentary this Wednesday, May 11. It tells the story of an Indianapolis fertility doctor who inseminated patients with his own sperm, without their knowledge.
“He’s not the only doctor who’s done this,” said Jacoba Ballard, who was one of the first to find out the truth about her mother’s fertility doctor in Indianapolis who was inseminating her with her own sperm after an ancestry DNA test.
She immediately reunited with several of her half-siblings, all fathered by Doctor Donald Cline.
It is now estimated that he fathered over 90 children.
Years after his story was told to the press, the story is coming to the living rooms of millions in the form of a documentary called “Our Father”.
“You know, a lot of people say, ‘Well, these mothers were desperate and they wanted a child. So what’s the problem?'” said the film’s director, Lucie Jourdan. “Well, the big thing is that they never had a choice about who the father was. And the fathers who thought they had donated their sample, and were the [biological] fathers of their children… who were stolen from them.”
Jourdan was shocked to hear this story in 2017. She and other filmmakers spent years creating “Our Father,” interviewing several of the Cline children and the parents who raised them, to piece together the aftermath of the discovery. by Ballard.
The documentary is a debut for Jourdan, who said the filmmakers contacted Cline during production but he refused to talk to them.
“Cline didn’t matter to me in this documentary,” she said. “The siblings mattered. It was their story to tell. His voice, we had his voice. We heard who he was, thanks to Jacoba’s recording [of their phone conversations]. It wasn’t important… Jacoba’s story and that of the siblings was paramount.”
Ballard finding the truth about his paternity affected more than just his identity. She now has a distrust of doctors, especially those who know Cline or know her story.
“In fact, I was sent to specialists who said to my face that they did not understand why [what Cline did] was so important,” Ballard told News 18.
Since this story gained national attention, nine fertility fraud bills have been passed in the United States. Kentucky being the last. In Colorado, a donor-designed protection law is being passed into state law.
With this film soon to be seen by millions, Ballard says she feels healed.
“I feel like we got justice,” she said. “We may not have gotten justice in the courts, I feel like the state of Indiana let us down. But we were able to voice our opinions.”
“It’s a really interesting movie,” Jourdan said. “Because there’s a high probability that anyone watching this documentary will relate to all of the characters in it. And I [want to let] they know it’s going to be a scary time, but look at the powerful, brave, strong people you have in your family now… There’s a lot of people doing bad things (and) there’s no justice served in the seek. And I find that maybe my mission is to use entertainment and this platform to seek justice in a very different way.”
Ballard hopes viewers will take away a certain message after watching “Our Father.”
“It’s okay not to trust those in power and to question them,” she said.
Ballard told News 18 that children of other fertility doctors who used their own sample and Cline’s children have created support groups that span multiple states.
She hopes that after seeing this film, parents who have used fertility treatments to conceive will be honest with their children.
The film was made in partnership with Blumhouse Productions, which specializes in horror films.
Jourdan said it was the right fit for telling what she calls a “horrifying” story.