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Father of up to 600 children banned from donating sperm over fears of accidental incest and inbreeding

A scientist picks up a vial of frozen donor sperm.A scientist picks up a vial of frozen donor sperm samples.

Wong Maye-E/AP Photo

  • A court has ruled that a man who has fathered up to 600 children must stop donating sperm.
  • It follows concerns that his children could commit accidental incest and inbreeding fears.
  • The 41-year-old must now contact clinics to have them destroy his samples. 

A court has ruled that a 41-year-old man who has fathered up to 600 children must stop donating sperm, a Dutch charity representing donor children has announced.

The donor, identified by de Telegraaf newspaper as Jonathan Meijer, a musician from The Hague, according to Reuters, was forbidden from donating semen to clinics worldwide or face a fine of 100,000 euros ($110,000) per donation.

Already banned from donating his sperm in The Netherlands, Meijer must now also contact clinics abroad to have them destroy his samples. 

Meijer, who now lives in Kenya, was placed on a Dutch donation blacklist after the publication in 2021 of an investigation by The New York Times. But he has continued to donate his sperm abroad, including in Denmark and Ukraine, according to The Telegraph.

The Independent reports that Meijer would sometimes use a fake name when giving his donations.

“The donor deliberately misinformed prospective parents about the number of children he had already fathered in the past,” the district court in The Hague said.

Meijer had helped father between 550 and 600 children in the 16 years he had spent donating sperm, judges said, The Guardian reported.

“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, per The Guardian.

Dutch clinical guidelines say a sperm donor should not father more than 25 children from 12 families.

The ruling comes after charity Stichting Donorkind and a mother who used Meijer’s sperm sued him, fearing that donor children could accidentally partake in incest by forming relationships with people to who they were unknowingly related.

Donorkind is alleging that Meijer donated sperm to at least 13 clinics, the majority of them in the Netherlands, as well as communicated with prospective parents on social media using an alias.

The woman, named only Eva, said in a statement: “I am very grateful to all the people who have supported my child and me, and I am touched to see that the judge has now also supported us. I ask the donor to respect our interests and accept the verdict because our children deserve to be left alone.”

She added, “I hope that this ruling leads to a ban on mass donation and spreads like an oil slick to other countries.”

The Dutch News, which described Meijer as an “obsessive” sperm donor, said the Dutch gynecologists’ society, NVOG, first issued a warning about Meijer in 2017.

Read the original article on Business Insider