A man in the Netherlands has fathered at least 550 children through sperm donation, but a recent court ruling barred him from donating any more.
According to a report in The New York Times, the 41-year-old Dutchman lied to at least 11 sperm clinics in the Netherlands about his donation history and the number of children he had already fathered. He also donated to banks in Denmark and Belgium, some of which may have sent sperm abroad, and offered his sperm on social media platforms. His donations are believed to have produced between 550 and 600 children over a 16-year period.
After a lawsuit from the Dutch Donor Child Foundation - which represents children born through sperm donation - and the mother of a child he fathered, the courts ruled that if the man continued to donate, it would have negative psychological consequences for his children. The court cited the inability for such a large group of children to have relationships with all of their biological siblings, as well as the potential for accidental incest from so many strangers who are genetically related.
According to The Associated Press, the man claims he was just trying to help parents who couldn't conceive. Nevertheless, Dutch courts found that the rights of his children and future parents were more important and he was barred from further donations.
The Netherlands and Belgium have introduced new rules in light of the case, announcing centralized registers to prevent one person from donating too often. Previous guidelines in the Netherlands stated that a man with 12 mothers could father a maximum of 25 children, but did not track donations across sperm banks.