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Why Netflix's Our Father Has Fans Scratching Their Heads

The genre of true crime typically centers around the macabre and violent. Murders are portrayed at length in films, often focusing on the different angles of devastating stories. Prolific serial killer Ted Bundy has amassed a wide range of Netflix documentaries and narrative films, from "Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" to "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile." 

But while murder and mayhem certainly draw ratings, some true-crime films focus on more strange and unique cases. The newest documentary for the Netflix streaming platform is the upcoming release "Our Father." The documentary is set to be released on May 11, 2022, and it details the events surrounding Indianapolis-based fertility doctor Donald Cline.

In the '70s and '80s, Cline artificially inseminated over 50 women in his fertility clinic without using sperm donors (as is procedure). Instead, the fertility doctor used his own DNA without the knowledge of any of his patients (via IndyStar). Through the help of sites such as Ancestry.com, the now-adult children have discovered their lineage, as depicted in "Our Father." 

There are many questions that have arisen out of this dark tale, but after viewing the trailer, many fans have gravitated towards one that needs to be answered.

How have Cline's crimes gone unpunished?

The trailer for "Our Father" does not fail to impress upon the gravity of what was done. Women were lied to about the parameters of a medical procedure which caused vast consequences. Now decades later, many people are realizing their lives are not what they thought they were. The children born from the procedure have a multitude of half-siblings, who previously, they never knew existed and could've run into daily. On Twitter, one debate was roused about the legality of the situation.

"I'm confused how come its [sic] not a crime?" asked @zordelolz. With consent being a large issue in this case, it's a fair question. But as stated by one detective in "Our Father," as well as the original article from The Atlantic, it's not that easy. Sarah Zhang wrote the early piece on the story, which unfolded a couple of years earlier in Indianapolis. She interviewed many of the people who are impacted by Cline's actions. Liz White is one woman who thought she was getting a legitimate sperm donor. Now she and her son Matt have discovered that there is actually no law put in place to protect against this sort of action. In fact, Cline was ultimately only charged with obstruction of justice (via IndyStar). 

Currently, the White family and other victims fight to ensure laws are put into place to stop this from happening in the future, and as of 2019, at least one bill has been signed into law in the state of Indiana. The Atlantic reported in a later article that it is now illegal in the state for doctors to use their own DNA in fertility procedures with patients, referred to as "fertility-fraud." With "Our Father" soon to be released, one can only hope this will further shine a light on this glaring oversight.