How A Fertility Doctor Violated His Patients' Trust

Oct 30, 2019

"Sick," a new podcast from Side Effects, is examining an Indianapolis fertility doctor who made headlines -- for all the wrong reasons.

A young Donald Cline poses for a yearbook photo.

In an eight-part serial, reporters Lauren Bavis and Jake Harper explore the fertility industry and one doctor's abuse of power — as well as the mothers, fathers and children living with the consequences of his actions.

And even with previous media coverage of Dr. Donald Cline, "Sick" uncovers new details about his life and work in Indianapolis.

Episode One tells the story of a mother and son who experienced fertility medicine at two very different times, and the horrible secret they uncovered decades later – that Cline used his own sperm instead of an anonymous donor’s. Episode Two introduces listeners to a woman who wanted to find out how she came into the world, and found seven half-siblings.

“We hope ‘Sick’ helps people understand what it’s like to have fertility issues and the lengths patients have to go to in order to start a family of their own,” Bavis says.

As these personal stories unfold, "Sick" will explain how Cline was (and wasn't) held accountable for his actions. The podcast, which was recently featured on NPR's "1A," also will explore the complications of the fertility industry.

Harper says, “Cline isn’t the only doctor to have done this. New cases keep popping up all over the country, which was part of our motivation to create this podcast.”

"Sick" can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts or other podcast platforms.