A retired Indianapolis fertility doctor allegedly impregnated several patients with his own sperm – not semen donated by medical students, as they’d been promised – during his decades-long career, PEOPLE confirms.
Dr. Donald J. Cline appeared in Marion County Superior Court on Monday and entered not guilty pleas to two felony counts of obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.
Cline, 77, was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Oct. 17 for the next hearing in his case.
Records show that Cline has a history of similar allegations regarding insemination, which he has repeatedly denied over the years to law enforcement, leading to the obstruction charges.
His attorney, Tracy Betz, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Cline is alleged to have misled investigators who had been looking into complaints filed by two adults who contend he fathered them.
Cline operated a fertility clinic during the 1970s, according to authorities, and over an eight-year period he allegedly donated his own sperm at least 50 times.
It’s unclear how many people Cline is alleged to have successfully fathered in this way, though the court documents show it could be at least three.
According to the court records, Cline denied using his own sperm more than 30 years ago, telling detectives then the seminal fluid he’d used with his patients came from dental and medical students. He also promised that the donated sperm would not be used in more than three pregnancy attempts.
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According to the court records, a woman whose mother had been one of Cline’s patients took an at-home DNA test, which showed she was related to eight people in the company’s database.
Two other individuals exploring their ancestry through DNA tests discovered they were related to 70 of Cline’s relatives, records show.
Investigators allege that when six of his former patients’ children confronted him, Cline told them “he used his own sperm whenever he didn’t have a donor sample available.”
“It was unethical what he did. He was telling his patients one thing and doing another,” one of Cline’s alleged children told Fox59. “I want to find out as much truth as I can but I know deep down that we never will know the complete truth as to how many siblings we do have.”
Another of the doctor’s alleged children, a woman, wrote online about how Cline’s alleged actions have raised the possibility of unwitting incest for multiple people.
“I am outraged by this clear breach of ethics in the field of medicine,” she wrote.
But court records indicate Cline again denied the allegations to authorities, writing in a letter to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, “I can emphatically say that at no time did I ever use my own sample for insemination.”
Cline retired in 2009.