June 3, 2024

Dutch sperm donor who fathered hundreds of children ordered to stop

A 41-year-old Dutch man who has fathered more than 550 children has been ordered by a court to stop donating sperm. Jonathan Meijer will be fined €100,000 if he tries to donate again.

The problem is unwitting incest — half-siblings might form couple and have children together. This could cause inbreeding and psychosocial problems in donor children.

In 2017 Mr Meijer was banned from donating to IVF clinics in the Netherlands after it became known that he had fathered more than 100 children. According to Dutch guidelines donors should not father more than 25 children in 12 families.

However, he continued donating through on-line forums and to overseas sperm banks. Now he will be compelled to provide a list of all the clinics he has used and ask them to destroy his sperm.

Mr Meijer was taken to court by Stichting Donorkind (Donor Child Foundation) by the mother of one of his children.

Eva, the mother, said: “I hope that this ruling leads to a ban on mass donation and spreads like an oil slick to other countries. We must stand hand in hand as a link around our children and protect them against this injustice.” The foundation called for donor registers to prevent problems like this from happening again.

Judge Thera Hesselink said that the donor had “deliberately misinformed” prospective parents about the number of children he had already fathered in the past. “All these parents are now confronted with the fact that the children in their family are part of a huge kinship network, with hundreds of half-siblings, which they did not choose,” it said.

In court Mr Meijer said that he had come from a large family himself and wanted the same for others. He feels that he has been unfairly labelled as “a mad bull with an urge to procreate.” His lawyer argued that individuals have autonomy over their own bodies and have the right to create life.