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    Donor Ordered by Dutch Court to Cease Producing Semen for Massive Kinship Network of Hundreds of Half-Siblings

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    A man in the Netherlands, known only as “Jonathan M.” in the media, has been ordered by a court to stop donating his sperm. He is suspected of fathering over 550 children through sperm donations since he began in 2007. Dutch clinical guidelines suggest that a donor should not have more than 25 children in 12 families. However, judges found that Jonathan M. had helped produce between 550 and 600 children. He was brought to court by a foundation protecting the rights of donor children and the mother of one of the children allegedly fathered from his sperm.

    The court has prohibited Jonathan M. from donating his semen to new prospective parents, contacting any prospective parents, advertising his services to prospective parents, or joining any organisation that establishes contact between prospective parents. If he continues to donate, he will face a fine of €100,000 ($110,000) for every transgression.

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    Over 100 children of Jonathan M.’s children were born in Dutch clinics and others privately. He also donated semen to a Danish clinic called Cryos, which then dispatched his seed to private addresses in various countries. The Hague District Court said that “the donor deliberately misinformed prospective parents about the number of children he had already fathered in the past.” 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.

    The court considered it “sufficiently plausible” that this has or could have negative psychosocial consequences for the children. This includes psychological problems around identity and fears of incest. “It is therefore in their interest that this kinship network is not extended any further,” the statement said.

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    This case is the latest in a series of fertility scandals to hit the Netherlands. In 2020, a deceased gynaecologist was accused of fathering at least 17 children with women thinking they were receiving sperm from anonymous donors. The year before, in 2019, it emerged that a Rotterdam doctor fathered at least 49 children while inseminating women seeking treatment.

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