A Dutch court ruled that a man who fathered between 500 and 600 children in the last 16 years was not permitted to donate sperm any longer to future parents.
The Hague District Court found that the man had lied about his number of children, the number sperm donations, and the intention to continue donating sperm.
The court stated that "all these parents now have to face the fact that their children are part of an enormous kinship system, with hundreds or half-siblings, who they didn't choose."
Due to Dutch privacy laws the government did not name the 41-year-old man Jonathan Jacob Meijer as the donor of the organs in court proceedings. In an email sent to The New York Times in 2021 for a story about him, the health ministry confirmed that Jonathan Jacob Meijer was indeed the donor. Gerrit Jan KleinJan wrote that donors must sign an agreement to not donate sperm in other clinics. The sperm donation you're writing about also signed this agreement. He donated sperm at 102 sperm banks.
The Dutch Donor Child Foundation (which represents the interests sperm donor's children) and a woman who has one of Mr. Meijer's children sued him. The mother who goes by Eva, but does not use her last name in the statement, said that "the children deserve a break".
The court cited negative psychological effects for the children and said that preventing Mr. Meijer's continued donation was in their best interests. The court stated that it would be difficult for the children to develop relationships with so many half-siblings, and this could lead to incest.
According to court documents, Mr. Meijer has donated sperm in the Netherlands to at least eleven fertility clinics. According to Dutch law, each of these clinics allowed his sperm be used to produce up to 25 children. According to court documents, Mr. Meijer lied to each clinic, saying that he had not donated anywhere else and didn't plan to do so in the future.
In a report published in 2017, it was concluded that between 2007 and 2017 Mr. Meijer fathered 102 babies through Dutch clinics. A report from 2017 concluded that Mr. Meijer had fathered 102 children through Dutch clinics between 2007 and 2017.
In addition to his clinic donation, Mr. Meijer offered his sperm in various social media platforms both in the Netherlands as well as abroad. According to the court Mr. Meijer maintains contact with several parents.
The Dutch Donor Child Foundation, which celebrated the verdict by posting an image of two champagne glasses clinking on Twitter with the words "important move forward!" supported the decision. Ester de Lau said, "We are happy that the judge has ruled it is not a good thing to have many half-siblings."
Dutch legislators are implementing new rules to protect children's interests. This issue was debated in the Dutch House of Representatives this month.
Ernst Kuipers is the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands. He believes that it is important for everyone to know their lineage. Since 2004, donor children have been able to request this information. The government is trying to create a central registry to show if a donor has donated sperm to more than one clinic.
According to the proposed legislation, "the new rules will discourage situations where sperm donors father hundreds of offspring."
Ms. de Lau stated that she supports the bill but believes it should go further so that donor children can also search for private donations and overseas donations. She said that the registry could start in The Netherlands but should be international. This isn't a Dutch-only thing.
The rules governing sperm donations vary from country to country in Europe. After it was revealed that Meijer also had a presence in Belgium, the Belgian health minister created a registry similar to this one.
The Associated Press reported that Richard van der Zwan told the court his client was trying to help parents with fertility problems. The Associated Press reported that Mr. van der Zwan could not be reached on Friday for comment.
The court stated that Mr. Meijer did not act selfishly, and his continued sperm donation would not adversely affect any future children. The court decided that Mr. Meijer was not acting selfishly and his continued sperm donations would not negatively affect any subsequent children.