Maternity – infant – baby – illustration photo.
Amsterdam – A Dutch court today ordered a man who fathered 500 to 600 children worldwide to stop donating sperm. This was reported by the Reuters agency. Families who were helped to have children by 41-year-old Jacob Meijer have gone to court, saying he increased the risk of accidental consanguinity, incest and psychological problems for children who discover they have hundreds of siblings.
The 41-year-old Dutchman was banned from donating any more sperm, the decision said. He faces a fine of 100,000 euros (CZK 2.3 million) for each offence. The court also ordered Meijer to write to clinics abroad and ask them to destroy all of his sperm they have in stock, with the exception of doses reserved for parents who already have children from him.
The lawsuit against Meijer was launched by a foundation representing the interests of Dutch parents who used Meijer as a donor. They argued that Meijer's continued donation violates the privacy rights of his children, whose ability to form romantic relationships is limited by fears of accidental incest and inbreeding.
Meijer's lawyer said at the hearing that the man wanted to help parents, who would otherwise not be able to conceive a child.
“All these parents are now confronted with the fact that the children in their family are part of a vast kinship network with hundreds of half-siblings they did not choose,” the judge said today. He added that it “has, or possibly could have, negative psychosocial consequences for children”.
Meijer's mass donation first came to light in 2017 and the man was banned from donating at Dutch fertility clinics where he had already fathered more than 100 children. According to the rules, in the Netherlands, sperm from one donor may not be used for more than 12 mothers, and one man may produce a maximum of 25 offspring with the help of artificial insemination.
Meijer, however, continued to donate sperm abroad, including to the Danish sperm bank Cryos, which operates at the international level. According to the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, Meijer also continued to offer himself as a donor on websites that arrange meetings between prospective parents and sperm donors, sometimes under a different name. In 2020, it was revealed that gynecologist Jan Wildschut from the city of Zwolle between 1981 and 1993 used his own sperm in the artificial insemination of female patients, and thus became the father of at least 17 children. A similar case of a gynecologist who used his own sperm for insemination without the patients' knowledge was revealed in 2019. At a clinic near Rotterdam, doctor Jan Karbaat fathered at least 90 children during his career with women who sought his professional help.