A Dutch court has banned 41-year-old Jonathan Jacob Meyer from continuing to be a sperm donor because he has already fathered around 550 children. If he donates sperm again or advertises the donor’s services, he can be fined 100,000 euros.
The Donor Child Foundation sued the man as a representative of the group of children of this donor and their parents together with the mother of one of the children. They demanded that the donor be ordered to stop donating his sperm to new parents-to-be, prohibited from announcing his desire to do so, and that sperm he previously donated to clinics or sperm banks be no longer used.
The Dutch Association of Gynecologists issued a warning to the man back in 2017 when it was revealed that his sperm had given birth to at least 102 children in the Netherlands through 10 different clinics. When his excessive donations became public, Meyer was blacklisted, but he continued to donate abroad, including in Denmark and Ukraine, and offered his services through websites, sometimes under a different name.
The man undertook not to be the father of more than 25 donor children under any circumstances. But, as noted, he is already involved in the birth of about 550 children.
According to the plaintiffs, the continuation of his donation violated the right to respect for the private life of donor parents and children. In addition, some parents said that they would not have turned to Meyer if they had known how many children had already been born from his sperm.
The court noted that this information was crucial for the choice of parents, and the man deliberately lied about it. Now all these parents are faced with the fact that the children in their families are a part “a huge family network with hundreds of half-siblings they didn’t choose”. The judge agreed that this had or could have negative psychosocial consequences for the children. Therefore, it is in their interests that the network of kinship does not expand further.
In addition, these children will find it difficult to maintain relationships with so many biological siblings, and may deal with identity issues and fear of increased risk of incest/inbreeding.
The court ruled that the man will be fined up to €100,000 if he donates sperm again or advertises his services as a donor. He was also ordered to provide a list of all the clinics where he had donated sperm and write to them to order it to be destroyed.