'Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis 2018: Current Practice and Beyond', 9-10 November 2018
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US fertility doctor accused of using own sperm changes plea

30 October 2017
Appeared in BioNews 924

A retired US fertility doctor accused of using his own sperm to inseminate patients at his clinic will plead guilty to misleading investigators.

Dr Donald Cline was charged last year with two counts of obstruction of justice in 2016 (See BioNews 869, after being accused of inseminating women at his Indianapolis clinic in the 1970s. Although he initially pleaded not guilty, in a hearing scheduled for December 2017 it is understood that he will change that plea.

Amber Stafford, who believes Dr Cline is her biological father, said that 'even though he wasn't here, and he didn’t say "I'm guilty", it kind of gives you that feeling that he's owning up to what he did and admitting to what he did was wrong'.

The group of eight individuals, who initially brought a complaint against Dr Cline in 2014 and believe they are all biological siblings, are calling for a change in the law to prevent it happening again. At present, no laws in Indiana prevent a doctor from using his own genetic material.

'We want to stop this from happening again, because it was wrong on so many levels,' Stafford said. 'Even though there's no laws against it, it was wrong. We want more justice, but we'll get there and we're not going to stop fighting to get laws changed in Indiana.'

When the group met with the doctor in 2016, he allegedly admitted to donating his own sperm 'around 50 times' to help women get pregnant. However, after an official investigation was launched, Dr Cline told the US Attorney General's Office that he never used one single donor's sperm for more than three successful pregnancies, and that he never used his own sperm.

Paternity tests have so far indicated that at least two of Dr Cline's patients' children carry his DNA, however online genetic tests have indicated that many more could be in the same situation.

Matt White, who believes Dr Cline to be his biological father, said: 'This wasn't just a handful of kids or mothers that this happened to that resulted into a handful of children. We're now into several dozen, and it's going to continue to grow.'

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