(The Hague) A Dutch court on Friday banned a “mass donor”, the parent of at least 550 children, from donating his sperm to future parents, in a new scandal linked to fertility issues that shocks the Netherlands. Down.
The man, identified by local media as Jonathan M., 41, faces 100,000 euros ($149,000 CAD) each time he breaks the ban.
A mother and the Donorkind Foundation (“Donor’s Child”) had filed summary proceedings against him last month, finding that he continued to search for future parents on social media.
The Hague tribunal found it “sufficiently plausible” that expanding the huge kinship network had negative psychosocial consequences for the children, citing psychological issues around identity and fears of incest .
Nevertheless, Jonathan M. can still donate to parents who already have a child by him and want another, according to local media.
The Netherlands has already been hit by scandals related to fertility issues. In 2020, a gynecologist was charged after his death with fathering at least 17 children with women who believed they were receiving sperm from anonymous donors.
Identified only as “Eva,” the plaintiff mother said she was grateful to the court for stopping the man from “mass donations, which have spread like wildfire to other countries.”
“I ask the donor to respect our interests and accept the verdict,” she said, quoted in a statement.
According to Donorkind, Eva found the man in 2018 via a dating platform, where he promised to father a maximum of 25 children, in line with Dutch clinic guidelines to avoid inbreeding, incest and psychological problems in children. of donors.
The man had actually fathered 100 children in Dutch clinics alone at the time, plus an unknown number in the private sphere and via a Danish clinic that sent his semen to private addresses in various countries, the report read. AFP in the judgment.
Jonathan M. was able to have many more children than the 25 allowed because the rules are easy to circumvent, observes Dutch public television NOS.
Fertility clinics in the Netherlands do not share data and nothing is known about private agreements between mothers and donors, as is the number of children conceived by donors abroad, the outlet explains.
“If you let such a huge kinship network grow with 550 to 600 people who have half-brothers and half-sisters everywhere, then you’re doing the wrong thing,” Gert-Mark Smelt, spokesperson, told AFP. word of the court.
The judge therefore prohibited the man from “donating his sperm to new future parents”, considering that it was in the interest of the children of the parent that the network does not extend further.
The donor must also ask all the sperm banks where his semen was stored to destroy it. He is also forbidden to communicate with new future parents about his desire to give them sperm.
“The donor deliberately misinformed the intended parents about the number of children he had fathered in the past,” the court found.
“This is the first time a judge has ruled on such a case and it is encouraging to see this behavior immediately addressed,” said Mark de Hek, one of the attorneys involved.
According to the NOS, Jonathan M. plans to appeal the judgment.
“I regret being dishonest,” he wrote to NOS.
“However, such a restriction of physical and contact freedom, as stated by the court, does not seem to me to have any place in a free society like the Netherlands,” he added.