Our father is inevitable. The terrifying documentary focuses on Donald Klein, a fertility doctor who secretly uses his own sperm to inseminate dozens of patients in Indianapolis c70s and 80s and how his actions changed the lives of his biological children.
The inscription in the tweet quite managed.
Our father launched Netflix on May 11, full of twists, emotionally shocking interviews and more distracting reenactments than I thought there would be. (Still, I watched closely throughout his 97-minute run.)
The film interviewed several of Klein’s genetically related children, including Jacob Ballard, who did a DNA test at home as an adult and found she had seven half-siblings. It was presented quite early and in the course of the film the number of siblings increased. Finally, it is revealed that there are at least 94 brothers and sisters of Klein. Klein did not participate in or interview for the documentary.
Lucy Jourdan is making her directorial documentary debut with the film, which comes from Netflix and Blumhouse Pictures. Here are the answers to the main questions I had after watching Our Father.
Warning: If you have not watched the documentary, this article contains spoilers and some material that may upset you.
Have other fertility doctors fertilized patients without their knowledge?
Unfortunately, yes. In a statement, Our Father director Lucy Jourdan wrote that there are at least 44 additional male doctors from around the world who have done the same as Klein.
“Without consent. Without respect,” she wrote. “Thanks to available DNA tests, these perpetrators have finally been caught and discovered and forced into the spotlight that they never imagined.
Another documentary, HBO’s Baby God, tells the story of one of these doctors. Las Vegas-based fertility specialist Quincy Fortier also used his own semen to inseminate unsuspecting women and may have been the father of hundreds of children. If you can catch another tale of a fertility scammer, the 2020 film is airing on HBO Max.
Is Donald Klein still a fertility doctor?
Klein works as a fertility doctor in Indianapolis for 38 years before retirement in 2009
Where is Donald Klein now?
Klein was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in 2017 after he lied to investigators with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office (the Netflix documentary reveals that he has denied ever using his own semen in legal documents) but has not been jailed. Indiana law at the time does not specifically prohibit fertility doctors from using their own sperm. Indiana Medical Licensing Board has revoked his license in 2018
Klein is currently alive and 80 years old. Jourdan told The Guardian that “he is active in his community. He goes to grandchildren’s swimming meetings and things like that. There is no hiding.”
Why did Klein do it?
This is great and the documentary does not give a definite answer. Here’s what we know.
In the documentary, Ballard tells of a meeting between Klein and some of his siblings, where Klein apparently explains that he used only his own semen to help mothers who thought they were desperate for a child, Ballard said.
Children have other theories.
What is Quiverfull?
It’s Quiverful ultraconservative Christian movement mentioned in the film. Those in Quiverfull reject birth control and I believe they can help spread the word of God by having as many children as possible. in 2009 reported NPR that Quiverful is “a small group, probably 10,000 fast-growing families, mostly in the Midwest and South.”
In Our Father, Ballard makes a connection between Klein and Quiverful, but it is not strong.
In the film, we learn that Klein has an affinity for the biblical verse “Jeremiah 1: 5” and Ballard notes that this is “one of the biblical verses that Quiverful uses.” The verse is, “Before I created you in the womb, I knew you.”
Kline’s brother and sister Julie Harmon is making another wild connection, saying that Quiverful, during the conception of the brothers and sisters, is focusing on producing more members of the white race. “They were afraid that other races would infiltrate and the white race would eventually disappear,” she said. Then we hear from Ballard, who points out that most of Klein’s biological children have blond hair and blue eyes. “It’s like we’re the perfect Aryan clan,” she said. Again, there’s nothing super specific here that connects Cline to Quiverfull.
The film also shows Ballard explaining how she learned about the Quiverfull movement. She says the Indiana Attorney General’s Office sent her emails, searched for the people who responded and all copied the emails, and found that “one of the people in the state” had a “Quiverfull” email address. Since this doesn’t really apply to Klein, I’m quite confused (and I guess others will be) as to why the document even includes these details in a prominent place.
The brothers and sisters admit that without hearing the truth from Klein, they have only theories. “I don’t think we’ll ever understand why he did it,” Ballard said.
Was it sexual?
Brother and sister Jason Hyatt also speculated about Klein’s motive: “Is this to continue his career? … Is this something sexual? I don’t know, “he said in the film. “I have a feeling he’s hiding something more sinister.”
So it was sexual? The document implies that Klein collected his own semen just before fertilizing the patients. Jodie Madeira, a law professor at Indiana University, notes in the film that “in order to produce this sperm sample, he had to masturbate very close to the office where a patient was waiting for him.” In a voice-over near the end, Donald says, “Was there a sexual connotation to this? Absolutely not.” It is unclear whether Klein is actually the one speaking on the recording. (Kline’s actor is used in other parts of the film to recreate scenes).
How did Klein secretly use his own semen so many times?
Brother and sister Matt White suggests in the film that someone he must have known that Klein inseminates women with his own semen. “To get away with it for decades and nobody knew anything. Nobody in the office? Come on,” he says. Robert Colver, Klein’s former partner at work, and Ian Shore, his former nurse, deny knowing about Klein’s actions. Shore has worked with Klein for 13 years.
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