A mother and a foundation for the rights of donor children in the Netherlands are suing a prolific sperm donor, who has fathered at least 550 children, on the grounds that he is increasing the risk of accidental incest in the community.
According to Dutch clinic guidelines, a donor can father a maximum of 25 children, or inseminate up to 12 families, to prevent inbreeding, incest and psychological problems for donor children, DonorKind Foundation points out in a statement.
“Both parents and donors must take into account the interests and rights of the donor children. Unfortunately, there is no such thing with this man, which means that we as a foundation have to stand up for the interests of the donor children who are unable to do so themselves,” the foundation explained.
“Serial sperm donor” allegedly acts unlawfully
The man, who is identified by international outlets as Dutch musician Jonathan Jacob Meijer, 41, is accused of having donated his sperm to at least 13 clinics in the Netherlands and abroad, lying about the number of children he has fathered.
In addition, Meijer, who is now a resident of Kenya, allegedly approaches prospective parents who are looking for a donor for home insemination via meeting platforms and social media.
“This behavior is dangerous for the mental well-being and health of donor children. By favoring his reproductive drive, the donor is acting unlawfully. In addition, he violates the agreements with the clinics and with the prospective parents, because they trusted his promise that he would father a maximum of 25 children,” commented DonorKind lawyer Mark de Hek.
What the plaintiffs are calling for is a ban on new donations from Meijer under penalty, as well as stopping him from approaching new prospective parents.
They will also ask the court to order that clinics destroy his stored sperm, unless it is reserved for mothers who already have -at least- one child from him, so that they can have children who are genetically related as much as possible.
“If I had known that he had already fathered more than a hundred children, I would never have chosen this donor,” the mother who initiated the lawsuit said in a statement.
“In conversations with the donor, many mothers have indicated that he should stop, but nothing helps. Going to court is the only way to protect my child,” she concluded.
Prompted by this case, researchers have advised the Dutch government to drop the age limit which only allows donor children to know who their donor parent is from the age of 16.
They argued that there are no egal, medical, educational and ethical reasons for maintaining this age limit. On the contrary, by withholding donor data up to the age of 16, a donor child often suffers unnecessary damage, DonorKind opines.
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