In an article published here on September 12th, we reported on a claim that Indianapolis Fertility Doctor may have used his own sperm to impregnate patients.
On November 22 WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis has broadcast a follow-up report. The following transcript of the report is courtesy of WTHR News.
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Three Indianapolis area mothers and their children are speaking out as a unified front about their fertility doctor’s alleged betrayal.
“It’s devastating. It’s changed my entire life. I’ve cried every day for the past two months,” Julie Manes said. Manes is one of a dozen people who are named in court documents as being the biological child of Indianapolis fertility doctor Donald Cline.
Manes received her DNA test results in mid-October. She has since met others who claim the same.
“To know that a doctor took advantage of that situation is unimaginable,” said Cline’s reported biological son, Matt White. “It’s wrong on so many different levels.” White also recently discovered his connection to Cline.
Another one of Cline’s biological daughters is Jacoba Ballard. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for her entire family, too.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” Ballard said. “Never. Never.”
The two sisters and their brother all just recently met. They discovered that, according to court records, they are just some of the secret biological children of a man their mothers turned to for help having a baby. Prosecutors name him in court records as Dr. Donald L. Cline. He has since retired, but operated a fertility clinic in the 2000 block of W. 86th St. for years.
The Marion County Prosecutor believes Cline is not being truthful in a case that’s turned the lives of some of his patients and their children upside down.
“Some days, I’m not strong. There are days when I do, I break down,” said Jacoba Ballard.
“It’s devastating to say the least,” added Juile Manes. “I believed for 34 years that my dad was my father. And he still is, but knowing that Cline did this is…horrible.”
Their story starts at birth. All of their mothers, strangers then, went to Cline in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He had one of the most successful fertility practices in the metro area at the time.
Thirty years later, they discovered Cline used his own sperm to impregnate the three mothers and possibly others, according to court records.
Cline’s biological son, Matt White, fears there are many others including people who may not even realize the doctor’s alleged practices.
“I definitely want to encourage any people, anyone that were Cline’s or patients of Cline’s to come forward and get tested,” Matt White said. “Regardless of if you want to remain anonymous – I think there is a strength-in-numbers argument. There are probably hundreds of children out there.”
Cline’s patient, Diana Kiesler, who is Julie’s mother, told Eyewitness News,” I trusted in him to the full extent. I believed in him.”
The mothers’ stories are all heart-wrenching. Kiesler is the latest Cline patient to learn about his alleged fertility secret. She and her husband raised their daughter, Julie, not knowing that she could really be Cline’s daughter.
Liz White told Eyewitness News she trusted Cline with providing donor sperm to have her son, Matt.
“I had entered the office with this incredible hope and this gratefulness for a donor,” White said. “And betrayed is another good word.”
Betrayed is a word Deborah Pierce also used while talking about Dr. Cline. Despite a wonderful life growing up, her daughter, Jacoba Ballard, learned that someone else was her father. Jacoba added her DNA to the website “23 & Me”. When she got the results, she says it exposed Cline’s secret – which she shared with her mother.
“I really didn’t find out until the prosecutor’s report came back,” Pierce said, “and it was 99.9 percent. And that is when I actually found out Dr. Cline was the father.”
Just like the siblings have now bonded, their mothers have formed a special bond after experiencing the same emotional roller coaster ride about trusting Dr. Cline.
“I felt like a virtual rape victim,” Liz White said. Feeling like victims, the mothers and their children want Dr. Cline held accountable. They also want to make sure no other fertility doctor can legally do the same thing.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry only charged Cline with obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say Cline lied about information when questioned in the case.
The children and mothers hope to convince Indiana lawmakers to create legislation to make it a crime for fertility doctors to use their own sperm. Jacoba Ballard is leading the charge with the full support of her new-found siblings and their mothers.
“I won’t stop. I won’t stop until something is done,” Jacoba Ballard said. “There’s not laws in place and regulations.”
“Jacoba tried to get people to listen to her for a long time about this story,” said Matt White. “She kind of, maybe, just got blown off about this because they are like, ‘No, this is just too crazy.’ It is crazy.”
“I want a law changed,” said Julie Manes. “I don’t– like Jacoba said, I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
Although the siblings are bound forever biologically, they are still looking for justice. The best part of their story is the fact that they have each other.
“I love my siblings. That’s the one good thing. I have my brother and I love him and we talk every day,” Manes said.
“I love them. From the moment I met them, an instant connection. I love them so much,” Ballard said. “And I think that’s the most amazing thing.”
Ballard also considers it amazing that after putting in calls to several Indiana lawmakers, including State Sen. Rodric Bray, R-Morgan County, she ended up seated next to him at a recent fundraiser. She made an emotional plea for his help and says he listened. The Indiana Legislature is not in session right now, but Ballard believes she is on the right track to get the laws changed.
Eyewitness News reached out to Dr. Donald Cline’s attorney, Tracy Betz, but she did not comment.
Cline is scheduled to appear in court on January 24, 2017.
In the meantime, if you have any suspicion that a doctor or another medical provider may have victimized you or a loved one, Theodoros & Rooth would like to hear from you. With over 110 years combined experience, our firm is nationally known to fight for those harmed by medical malpractice. The initial consultation is always free of charge.