Directed by Lucie Jourdan, ‘Our Father’ is a true-crime documentary on Netflix that unravels one of the biggest sperm donor fraud cases in the nation, wherein Dr. Donald Cline of Zionsville, Indiana, artificially inseminated numerous of his patients with his own sperm during the 70s and 80s. Three decades later, his offspring discovered a shocking truth and set out to question Cline as well as seek justice.
One such person is Matthew White, whose entire life got shaken after finding out about his biological father. However, he has fought relentlessly since the discovery to ensure that others like him get the requisite legal aid. So, let’s find out more about Matthew and how he is doing presently.
Who is Matthew White?
Matthew AKA Matt White was born in 1982 after his mother, Liz White, visited Dr. Donald Cline, then-a noted local fertility specialist in Zionsville. Liz and her husband had been trying hard to conceive for two and a half years, and thus, they decided to seek help from Dr. Donald Cline on recommendation from their previous doctor. According to Liz, she visited him for five months, from October 1981 to February 1982. She would go down to the clinic thrice a month on her ovulation days and was inseminated 15 times in that entire period.
As per Liz, Dr. Cline used fresh sperm samples and assured her that he would find a medical resident with a similar appearance as her husband to use as a donor. When Matt was born, Liz and her husband were delighted to finally have their child and chose a name that meant “a gift of God” to express their gratitude. But at the age of 14, Matt figured he and his parents had different blood types. Hence, he questioned them about it and they revealed he was a donor baby and that Cline had helped them with him.
Moreover, when Matt and Liz once drove past Dr. Cline’s clinic, she proudly told him that it was where she conceived him. Hence, it was a pleasant memory for them, and they felt grateful to the doctor for his service. But all this drastically changed in September 2016, when Angela Ganote, a news reporter from Fox59, broke the news that Dr. Cline had been charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice. The report further revealed how Cline admitted to using his own sperm as many as 50 times to artificially inseminate his patients.
Mortified after seeing the news, Matt took a DNA test and his worst fear got confirmed — his biological father was Cline indeed. He then searched for the doctor’s younger photos and found that he bore a high facial resemblance to him. Not just that, Liz, who is a clinical social worker, and her best friend were also horrified to realize what may have happened to them 35 years ago when they visited Cline and trusted him with their fertility struggles.
In an April 2019 interview, Liz shared that while she lay in a medical gown and waited for him in the examination room, he used to go next door to get the sperm sample. She speculated that he may have masturbated and then used his ejaculation to inseminate her without her consent or knowledge. Liz painfully added, “I feel like I was raped 15 times…A man’s mind following ejaculation—there’s a lot of dopamine, a lot of serotonin, and norepinephrine. All of those are mood enhancers that bring about wonderful feelings for them…We came in for a medical procedure.”
Matt was shattered seeing his mother’s agony and was unable to comprehend the reasons behind Cline’s actions, as it blurred the lines between “sexual stimulation” and medical conduct. In a May 2019 interview, Matt stated, “It was just all planned, calculated, and executed flawlessly until technology caught up to him…Why he did it, I don’t know, but I think it’s disgusting. He had to go in, prepare the patient, step out of the room, do his business, put that in a syringe, and step right back in. That is not a medical procedure. That is definitely sexual in nature.”
After Matt first found out about his biological father, he contacted Jacoba Ballard, his half-sibling who was one of the first ones to find out about Cline. They both instantly got along and started working toward getting justice for their mothers and others like him. However, it did create a lifelong fear in Matt, as everywhere he went, he worried about bumping into someone who may have been his half-sibling. In December 2017, Cline pleaded guilty to the charges against him. He was only asked to pay a $500 fine, and his one-year sentence was suspended. Furthermore, no other charges were filed against him due to a lack of legislation in Indiana regarding sperm donor fraud.
Where is Matthew White Now?
Matthew White and his half-siblings attended the court hearing and were dejected to see Cline walk free. Hence, they decided to ensure that stringent laws against sperm donor fraud were amended. Matt began working on an application to file with the legislators and constantly kept track of all the new donor offspring who reported Cline as their father. As the number kept increasing rapidly, he had to continuously make changes and update the document.
Finally, Matt and his half-siblings’ efforts paid off in 2019, when legislation was passed in Indiana, making illicit donor inseminations illegal. He and Jacoba have constantly been in touch, and he even shared his earlier infertility problems with her. As far as we know presently, Matt works as a biologist and seemingly resides in Indianapolis with his wife and two children. In addition, he continues in his endeavors to help create better legal provisions for others like him.
Read More: Where is Dr. Donald Cline Now?