In the Netherlands a 41-year-old, identified by the Dutch press as “Jonathan M.”, was hauled into court in The Hague by a foundation that protects the rights of children resulting from sperm donations and by a woman who became a mother through assisted reproduction thanks to the seed of man. In over 15 years, in fact, “Jonathan M.” he would have contributed to the birth of over 550 children, perhaps 600. The judges thus decided to block him, effectively preventing him from continuing his ‘activity’. If he continues, he would in fact be at risk of very high fines, around 100,000 euros for each new born. Among other things, the judges believe that the uncontrolled growth of a network of biologically related people can have negative consequences for the children involved, with the risk of identity problems and potential incest.
Donor activity started in 2007
The guidelines of the Dutch clinics state that a donor should not contribute to the birth of more than 25 newborns distributed in no more than 12 families. But according to the judges, “Jonathan M.” allegedly fathered between 550 and 600 babies in the course of his sperm donor activity which began in 2007. The court has now not only barred him from “donating his sperm to new prospective parents”, but also prevented him from contacting any new prospective parents or to “advertise its services to prospective parents,” Judge Thera Hesselink wrote in the ruling. However, the Dutch media explain that the donor will still be able to donate his sperm to couples who have already had a child inseminated by him.
The judges: “Donor misinformed future parents”
More than 100 children of “Jonathan M.” they were born in Dutch facilities, but the man also donated sperm to a local clinic called Cryos which then shipped his sperm to private addresses in various countries. According to the Amsterdam District Court, “the donor deliberately misinformed the prospective parents about the number of children he had already fathered in the past.” The sentence also reads that “all these parents are now faced with the fact that their children are part of a huge family network, with hundreds of half-siblings, who they did not choose”. According to the court, it is “sufficiently plausible” that this could have negative psychosocial consequences for children with problems relating to identity but also to the risk of incest: “So it is in their interest that this kinship network is not extended further”, they concluded the judges.