International

Dutch gynecologist fathered 21 children, destroyed all records before death

fertilization

A Dutch hospital has confirmed that Jos Beek, a gynecologist, inseminated patients with his own sperm, resulting in the conception of at least 21 children. His patients, who struggled with infertility, expected to receive sperm from anonymous donors. 

Beek worked at Elisabethziekenhuis Hospital (now a part of Alrjine Hospital) in Leiderdorp for 25 years. He passed away in 2019, three years prior to this discovery. 

Since 2004, those living in the Netherlands have the right to learn the identity of their biological parents once they turn 16 years old. As a result of this, Fiom, an organization that helps identify biological parents, found DNA matches between multiple children whose mothers had received fertility treatment at Beek’s clinic between 1973 and 1986.  

After further investigation, Fiom revealed that the DNA involved also matched the DNA of one of the treating fertility doctor’s own children. It was then discovered that Beek is the biological father of at least 21 children conceived at his clinic. 

Dutch law limits the number of children that can be conceived from one sperm donor to 25, but the hospital recognizes the possibility that there may be many more of Beek’s fertility patients who birthed his biological children. Hospital records from that time period have been destroyed, so in attempt to identify others, a general appeal has been made for Beek’s former patients to come forward. The hospital has set up a helpline for anyone who may be affected. They can call 071-582 9259 or email informatiecentrum@alrijne.nl.

READ: Washington state bill would criminalize ‘doctor-conceived’ fertility fraud

Fiom contacted Alrijne Hospital with their findings in June of 2021. An independent committee was formed in January 2022 to investigate the claims further. Peter Jue, a member of Alrijne Hospital’s board of directors said, “We immediately entered into a conversation with the children and parents who wanted to, to listen and to promise our cooperation. We recognize the situation they found themselves in and want to do as much as possible to get the information on the table. The way this doctor acted at the time is unacceptable.” 

Jue also noted, “In the years that this doctor was working, there were hardly any regulations regarding fertility programs. The field was still developing. We would like to emphasize that the situation is now completely different. We use national protocols and work in a consistent and careful manner. Our working method is regularly checked through audits.”

The Netherlands is familiar with this type of scandal. In October 2020, DNA tests revealed that Jan Wildschut had used his sperm to conceive 17 children in his fertility clinic. The previous year, it was discovered that Jan Karbaat inseminated his patients with his sperm and fathered 49 children. 

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