Dutch man illegally fathers 102 children

family law

A man in the Netherlands may have illegally fathered as many as 102 children by donating sperm to multiple clinics.

Men who wish to be donors in the country must sign a contract with their clinic of choice in which they promise they will not donate to other fertility centres. However this declaration is rarely checked and enforced. Dutch law states that such men cannot have more than 25 biological children. This rule was designed to limit the possibility of children conceived this way growing up to form romantic relationships with people they do not realise are their half-siblings.

Speaking to Dutch media, the man, who has not been named, insisted that his motivation was not to have as many children as possible but because he likes “to make people happy”. Donating “makes [him] feel helpful” and the “gratitude of doctors and prospective parents is great” he claimed. The clinics he visited were “happy if they have a donor who passes the screening” he explained, adding that his sperm was “often immediately used”.

This man had not been the only one found to have donated to more than one clinic in the Netherlands. Another was recently tracked down by the authorities but he had only fathered two children.

In response to these revelations the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Obsteterie & Gynaecologie, the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, demanded that fertility clinics immediately stop using donations from the two men.

Following a recent analysis of official data on donors, the Dutch Ministry of Public Health has warned that there is a significant lack of oversight for fertility clinics. The government has since launched an investigation into the matter.

Photo by Anna & Michal via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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2 comments

Paul - August 28, 2017 at 1:28pm

Uk clinics are now desperatly short of doners now that some ‘Idiot’ court ruled that they can persue doners for child maintainance lol
The mind boggles how they came to that ruling lol.

Andrew - August 29, 2017 at 11:19am

Not quite, Paul. I know of no case where the courts in any part of the UK have done that.
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Parliament in its wisdom decided that if you donate after the law changed – 2005, I think – the child can trace the father on reaching 18, so it will kick in in 2023. Provided you jump through the correct legal hoops there will be no liability for maintenance and no inheritance rights. If you know of any case which went the other way it will be the result of “private” informal arrangements which are not a good idea in this context.
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The supply dried up (not sure that’s quite the verb I want . . .) because (1) the young men concerned, mostly students, did not want a stranger turning up and saying “Hello, Dad” when they were in their early forties and would probably have homes and wives and children already in place (2) they might come under considerable moral pressure to give even without legal liability, if the man has done well and the youngster has nothing (imagine the Daily Mail or the Guardian if he is prominent and unpopular with them!) and (3) they cannot trust DWP or whatever it is called this week and HM Treasury not to change the rules retrospectively.
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I would call it the law of unintended consequences but the Department concerned were warned and did it anyway. An act of folly.

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