19 de May, 2022

The brand new Netflix documentary tells the true story of perverse Artificial Insemination practices

Disturbing, overwhelming and twisted are perhaps the adjectives that come closest to describing this story, told through dramatic versions of real events, provoked by a fertility doctor, who not only starred in this scandal, performing artificial insemination The story is told by a fertility doctor, who not only was at the centre of this scandal, performing abortions on many women with his own semen in a small town in the United States, but is also considered an eminence in his field.

What is Our Father (Netflix) about?

Dealing with problems in conceiving is often far from easy, usually involving considerable physical and emotional strain on women and couples.

The fact is that sometimes it is definitely time-consuming to resort to Assisted Reproduction treatments is time-consuming.

Time to make such an important decision. Time to raise the necessary investment. And time to prepare, physically and mentally.

But above all, they require trust. And not just a lot of it, but full and absolute trust.

Confidence in the results of Assisted Reproduction. Confidence not to put your health at risk. And most importantly, trust in the doctor, so that he or she performs the procedure correctly and, above all, ethically.  

This Netflix original film-documentary tells the murky true story of Dr. Donald Cline, a fertility specialist who appeals to his instincts and unfounded beliefs over his medical ethics, resulting in dozens of children, who discover this truth as adults, through home DNA testing and as a result of uncertainty about their origins.

The drama, directed by Lucie Jordan , emphasises the risks and bad practices that were present in fertility treatments around the 1970s, specifically in artificial insemination, which was the method used by this gynaecologist to help many families conceive a baby, in the town of Indiana, in the United States.

In short, it exposes the brazenness and lack of values and conscience of an infertility specialist who uses his own sperm to impregnate many women, making them believe that the semen samples were obtained from medical residents and, on several occasions, from the partners of these women who came to him in his own fertility clinic.

What is the common thread of this documentary?

The risks particularly touched upon in the production lie in the lack of knowledge of how to obtain the semen samples for the procedure, the huge gaps in the medical ethics of the specialist who takes up the whole story, as well as the lack of regulation by the authorities to punish such a crime.  

Dr. Cline practiced artificial insemination using fresh sperm to guarantee better results, instead of resorting to frozen samples, which, according to the documentary, he told his patients was obtained from medical residents and could not be used on more than 3 occasions, in order to avoid a relationship between births within a delimited area, which, from the beginning, we know is a big lie.

Furthermore, on other occasions, the cynical doctor assured many women that he had used their husbands' sperm, which is also not the case, since in all the cases that are exposed, it is known that he used his own sperm to perform the procedures and impregnate all these women.

It was not until the mid-1980s that DNA testing was developed, so Dr Cline could have been sure that the truth about his gynaecological malpractice would never be revealed.

The announcements of the 23andme test The advertisements for the 23andme test made many anxious to find out more about their genetic genealogy, The 23andme DNA test was a 'home-made' DNA test, which allowed genealogy to be tracked online. It was then that Jacoba Ballard, the first witness in the drama, began to investigate her origins, using this test, until she found dozens of half-siblings around her. This plunges her into horror, thinking that in such a small village she could have been related to them without even knowing it.

Under this scoop, many more cases are uncovered, within the same area, adding one by one to Jacoba's family tree, related by a common surname in their history: "Cline".

How is artificial insemination performed?

This is a procedure of Low complexity assisted reproduction, which consists of placing sperm in the uterus, with the help of a special cannula, while the woman is ovulating, to achieve fertilization between the egg and the spermatozoon, achieve the formation of an embryo, and give way to pregnancy.

A method that is less invasive than the highly complex treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and is recommended in specific cases.

Why do we at Ingenes guarantee a good management and control of sperm, whether it is our own or donated?

Imagine waking up one day and finding out that you have dozens of half-siblings living in the same locality, or even finding out many years later that your father is not your biological father and he didn't even know it, is not only shocking news, the testimonies in this documentary express how much it affects their own identity, because it destroys a belief they grew up with.  

At Ingenes we not only have the highest standards in technology and quality to carry out any Assisted Reproduction treatment, but we also have the highest standards of quality in the field of sperm analysis. Strict measures to analyse the donor's semen sample, either anonymous or from the couple.

Sperm sample container for artificial insemination

In addition, we have the option for our patients to use fresh sperm from their partner or known donor, or frozen sperm, to carry out the artificial insemination.

Our guarantee is based on established standards. In the case of the use of fresh sperm, we do not use the cryopreservation process and for the handling of fresh sperm gametes within the laboratory, we use double or even triple control, in addition to safety protocols to avoid not only confusion, but also the exchange of samples.

On the other hand, we have a program dedicated to finding optimal donors, with measures to ensure the safe use of the sample in a patient. We analyse the donor's medical and family history in detail, perform tests to rule out abnormalities, and subject the samples to a 6-month quarantine to ensure that there is no presence of any disease such as Hepatitis B, HIV, etc.

At Ingenes, we are committed to fulfilling your dream of becoming a mother, without taking risks.

What is the outcome of the Netflix documentary?

Documental Nuestro Padre (Our Father, Netflix)

And although many categorise it as 'sexual abuse', especially those involved, the American authorities failed to identify it as such, despite the nearly 100 uncovered cases raised throughout the documentary, a figure that kept on counting and gave the doctor credit for his great work in the field of fertility, turning many women into mothers, regardless of the atrocity of his actions.

At the end of the production, it is noted that, following research done for this case, more than 40 fertility doctors were found to be performing the same procedure, using their own semen samples, and it is not known why Dr. Donald Cline was so brazen in his medical practice in performing artificial insemination .

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