Investigation into former fertility doctor accused of using own sperm on patients prompts call for change in state laws

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The investigation into a former fertility doctor who used own sperm on patients is sparking calls for change in state laws.

It’s a case FOX59 has been helping uncover for nearly two years. Accused of using his own sperm without his patients' knowledge, DNA evidence linked former fertility doctor Donald Cline to several donor children.

According to court records, Dr. Cline later lied to the state Attorney General’s office, leading to the criminal charge of obstruction.

“I feel validated now that we have people on our side,” said one of Cline’s biological children.

“I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Someone is taking this seriously,” said another one of Cline’s offspring we are calling “Carrie.”

Two of Dr. Cline's donor children are encouraged by the criminal prosecution, but they also want lawmakers to better regulate the fertility business. They believe the state should provide donor children need more rights, but the nationwide stance on the issue does not provide a clear path for change.

“Get laws changed and put regulations in place because honestly it's not that regulated,” said Carrie.

“I think this is something Indiana needs to take a look at,” said state senator Jim Merritt.

Merritt says insemination laws vary state to state. While Cline may have violated his professional ethics, it does not appear his practices actually broke any laws.

“It’s very concerning and it’s a health issue,” said Merritt.

Merritt says the tricky part is balancing a donor child's right to know with donor confidentiality, while making sure the state doesn't harm the fertility industry.

“We need to be very careful here.  That's why you haven't seen legislation because we don't want to dampen the industry, because people want to have children some way,” said Merritt.

One local reproduction attorney says cryobanks and fertility doctors still mostly regulate themselves.

Dr. Cline's offspring can consider civil action against the now retired doctor, but they know their legal options are limited.

“I want to know every sibling that I have. I don't think that is ever going to be a possibility,” said Carrie.