Netflix's twisted fertility fraud documentary ‘Our Father’ promises chilling watch

It will center on fertility expert Donald Cline, who inseminated dozens of unknowing women

Entertainment Desk April 18, 2022

True crime documentaries have become a staple in Netflix’s arsenal of crowd-pullers. However, the streamer’s latest offering, centred around a fertility doctor who notoriously switched out donors’ sperm with his own, appears to be a cut above the rest when it comes to being twisted. Our Father, a documentary series set to premiere on May 11, tells the story of Dr Donald Cline, one of the most prolific fertility experts in the state of Indiana in the USA, who inseminated dozens of women without their consent or knowledge.

The documentary will follow the chilling discovery by Cline’s many “children”, who found out about the doctor’s twisted scheme after undergoing DNA testing. The documentary focuses on Jacoba Ballard and her half-siblings, who total over 50 individuals. The siblings discovered they were all paternally related, with a common factor amongst all of them being that their parents received fertility treatments from Cline.

In an in-depth feature on the scandal by The Atlantic, it was revealed that Ballard was the first to find out. After Ballard connected with another woman on an online forum whose mother had been treated by Cline, she was struck by their physical similarities. After discovering via an at-home DNA testing kit that the two were indeed half-siblings, the pair went on to make the shocking discovery that there were many others sharing the same paternal genes. One of the children says in the trailer, “When I opened up Ancestry, I had over 3,000 hits,” with another sharing, “All of these random names were popping up, and it said ‘Close Family’.”

Directed by Lucie Jourdan, the synopsis of the documentary reads, “As Ballard and her newfound siblings realized they’ve barely begun to untangle his dark web of deceit, their pursuit of justice lies at the heart of this profoundly unsettling story about an unimaginable breach of trust.”  

Cline retired from practice in 2009, and since the kind of fertility fraud he committed is not classified as illegal under Indiana State Law, he was not legally held accountable for his actions. Apart from the children’s harrowing accounts of the discovery and subsequent pursuit of justice, the documentary will also focus on conversations about reproductive medicine and bioethics.  



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