INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Among the new laws that went into effect Monday is a law regarding fertility fraud.
Act 174 is in response to Dr. Donald Cline, who was convicted of artificially inseminating 50 patients with his own sperm without their knowledge. This came to light back in 2015, after people started using genetic testing to learn about their family history and discovered that Cline was their father.
The law allows for civil action in such cases and increases the penalty for fertility deception from a misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony.
Due to ex post Facto, Cline cannot be charged further unless he commits the crime again. That’s something he is unlikely to have the opportunity to do after he lost his medical license for life in the state of Indiana.
Act 174 does allow the mothers, their partners and the children who were conceived to seek damages.
“Ours does say the women who sought treatment, her partner, and the doctor-conceived child can sue. Either for $10,00 in liquidated damages or [they] can actually take this to court and get bigger damages for pain and suffering.” said Jody Madeira, a law professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.
Madeira says this is the first state law in the country to write out that the children of these cases are clear victims.
“It is the first and most comprehensive specifically fertility law in the country.”