A Dutch court banned a man Friday from donating any more of his sperm after his donations led to the siring of 550 to 600 children.
Jonathan Meijer, 41, lied to prospective recipients of his sperm about how much he had already donated, knowing that his donation history was key in the choices parents made about which sperm donor to use.
In the Netherlands, the legal limit is 25 children born to 12 mothers. Mr. Meijer, who began donating in 2007, donated to at least 11 Dutch clinics. He was banned from donating sperm in the Netherlands after it came out that he had fathered 102 kids.
From 2015 to 2018, Mr. Meijer used Danish sperm bank Cryos, which does not have a limit and which sends semen to private addresses internationally.
Mr. Meijer also used a Ukrainian bank, BioTexCom Center for Human Reproduction, and arranged private home insemination via social media, according to Dutch court documents.
Mr. Meijer’s brood swelled fourfold to 550-600 kids.
The suit was filed by the Stitchting Donorkind, an organization representing several families that had children using Mr. Meijer’s material.
The group and other plaintiffs argued that the risk of accidental incest, as well as the psychosocial aspects of having so many other half-siblings on Mr. Meijer’s existing children, was too great to allow Mr. Meijer to donate any more sperm.
Ultimately, a judge at The Hague District Court ruled that the rights of the parents and children to privacy outweighed Mr. Meijer’s right to freely donate his sperm.
Mr. Meijer has seven days to disclose whether or not he had donated to more clinics. If he is found to have donated sperm in the future, he will have to pay $110,000 per case.
The $110,000 fine will also apply if Mr. Meijer is found to have engaged in communication with prospective parents or posted advertisements about donating his sperm in the future.
As for sperm Mr. Meijer donated that has not been used, the judge also required him to send those facilities a letter asking that his samples be destroyed, aside from those reserved for parents that have used his material previously.
A mother and plaintiff in the case applauded the ruling, hoping that it served to dampen the genetic ambitions of potential mass donors going forward.
“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 around our children and protect them against this injustice,” the mother, Eva, told the Associated Press in a statement. She did not provide a surname.
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