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The “Our Father” Netflix Doc Was Just As Creepy As Promised

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I recently watched the new Our Father documentary on Netflix, which tells the story of a fertility doctor who secretly used his own sperm to impregnate numerous patients.

It was an “excellent” watch in that it was successfully and simultaneously horrifying and informative. The morbid curiosity that has made so many serial killer documentaries a hit was likewise highly effective in securing a strong response from audiences. In fact, it’s been reported that the creators are being sued by two of the doctor’s secret offspring (who hadn’t told people who their biological father really was after finding out not so long ago themselves) whose names were revealed in the program without their permission.

There are a few elements that make this worth watching (as long as you’re able to cope with the heavy and psychologically disturbing premise and themes of the program).

Firstly, many of the victims participated to give their first-hand account of how they’ve been affected, which helps the audience to understand the real gravity of how this person’s actions ruined lives.

Another important element is that it touched on the concept that this is a form of rape (however, I think this could have been emphasised more), as the true nature of what this doctor was doing during his many procedures (i.e. inserting his own sperm, when he had said he was using that of a donor who met certain criteria – or in some cases even the patient’s partner!) was done without the patient’s knowledge, and therefore could not have been done with consent.

The documentary also depicts the woefully-inadequate punishment that was given to the perpetrator, and gives an update at the end on whether the laws in this area have changed.

Finally, unlike some popular true crime documentaries, Our Father does nothing to glamorise or idealise the criminal. It accurately portrays him as a callous, potentially even self-righteous person devoid of self-awareness, remorse, or any understanding of how his actions have affected others.

Perhaps most shocking of the many horrible revelations shared in this piece was the number of other doctors who have committed the same act, sprinkled in at the very end of the documentary for good measure.

I hope that this show helps in some way to contribute a sense of justice for the victims, and sheds light on such behaviours so that laws around the world can be updated to reflect the new horrors that technologies have allowed us to unlock. Unfortunately, that is not a real solution – so I do hope that this ensures people realise how unethical such behaviour is and that it never happens again. But will such twisted people ever be dissuaded from harmful behaviour because of a documentary? Unlikely. Still, we have to hope that with increased societal awareness, improved mental health care, and a collective increase in empathy for others, things will start to change.

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