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Our Father review – an undeniably gripping tale of a fertility doctor’s shocking crimes

There’s plenty of shock value in this Netflix documentary about a church elder who secretly impregnated many women. But it needed to ask more way questions about the law and anti-female bias Simple, unbelievable and simply unbelievable. That, roughly, is the arc of Lucie Jourdan’s 90-minute Netflix documentary about fertility doctor Donald Cline, who spent 30 years secretly using his own sperm to impregnate the women who came to him for treatment. He probably would have got away with it too, if it hadn’t been for the pesky kids that resulted and the advent of home DNA-testing kits. Jacoba Ballard grew up suspecting that she, the only blond, blue-eyed member of a family of brunettes, was adopted. When she was 10, her parents told her they had used donor sperm to conceive her. “I wanted a child so bad,” her mother, Debbie Smith, says, the pain clearly visible on her face. The Smiths went to Cline, who had a reputation as the best in what was then the new field of fertility treatment and artificial insemination. The good doctor – and devout Christian, church elder and respected member of the community – told them that medical students were used as donors, each no more than three times to limit any future problems with consanguinity (the medical term for unwitting siblings later having children together). The couple went ahead and nine months later Jacoba was born. “She’s my everything,” says Debbie. Continue reading...

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