Update 5/3/23: The Dutch man who has fathered more than 550 children through sperm donation has been ordered by a court to stop selling sperm. Jonathan Meijer will be fined €100,000 if he attempts to donate sperm again. He must compile a list of all the clinics he has sold sperm to and ask those clinics to destroy his sperm. There is concern that his children — half-siblings — will meet and possibly have children together without the knowledge that they are siblings.
According to BioEdge, Meijer had been taken to court by Stichting Donorkid (Donor Child Foundation) by the mother of one of his children. Judge Thera Hesselink said that Meijer had “deliberately misinformed” women about the number of children he had already fathered. The ruling states, “All these parents are now confronted with the fact that the children in their family are part of a huge kinship network, with hundreds of half-siblings, which they did not choose.”
This is the second time that Meijer has been told to stop selling his sperm. In 2017, he was banned from selling his sperm to IVF clinics in the Netherlands after it was discovered that he had fathered more than 100 children by that time. Dutch guidelines state that a man can not father more than 25 children across 12 families. However, Meijer continued selling his sperm through online forums and international sperm banks.
4/3/23: A Dutch sperm donor accused of fathering at least 550 children is being sued in an effort to force the government to take action.
Jonathan Jacob Meijer, who now lives in Africa, has reportedly donated sperm to at least 13 clinics, with 11 located in the Netherlands. Additionally, he reportedly offers his ‘services’ on social media to people seeking to become parents.
The Dutch government has guidelines in place, which are supposed to prevent sperm donors from fathering more than 25 children or impregnating more than 12 mothers. Yet there has been no action taken to stop Meijer, who continues to father children, sometimes using pseudonyms.
Meijer, in response to the controversy, reportedly said, “I like to see that there are children of mine all over the world.”
DonorKind, a Dutch donor child foundation, is representing 25 families in the lawsuit. The group is trying to force the government to put injunctions in place to keep Meijer from fathering any more children.
DonorKind claimed that, in addition to the Netherlands, Meijer has continued to donate sperm in Denmark and Ukraine.
“We are taking action against this man because the government is doing nothing,” DonorKind foundation chairman Ties van der Meer told the Telegraph. “He has a global reach via the internet and he does business with large, international sperm banks.”
Though Meijer is blocked from donating sperm in the Netherlands, he allegedly is still approaching prospective parents to carry out home insemination. And though he can’t donate more sperm in the Netherlands, DonorKind wants sperm banks to destroy any remaining samples he has donated in the past so more children can’t be conceived from his sperm. In addition, women are not being warned about how many children have been fathered by Meijer when they go to sperm banks, as one woman named Eva pointed out.
“If I had known that he had already fathered more than a hundred children, I would never have chosen this donor,” she said in a statement for DonorKind. “When I think about the consequences this could have for my child, I get a bad gut feeling and I become uncertain about his future: how many more children will be added? 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.”
Another mother, in Australia, echoed similar sentiments.
“We chose him because he was worldly, creative and very intelligent. He was open to meeting his donor children and he looks like my partner,” she said. “He won’t be stopped. I think it’s disgusting and I’m incredibly angry and disappointed. I can’t believe I have to tell my child that he has hundreds of siblings.”
Mark de Hek, an attorney with DonorKind, said that Meijer has been approached, to no avail. “We and some of the mothers have approached him,” he said. “They have asked him to stop. He refused. This is why legal action is the only option to protect children.”