Jonathan Meijer’s days of donating sperm have come to an end. The 41-year-old may be the ideal candidate for sperm donations, but his cup has runneth over, according to a judge in the Netherlands. Meijers has fathered nearly 600 children by donating sperm, and he now faces a fine of up to $110,000 if he is caught donating again.
Eva, one of the women who fathered Meijer’s children, filed a lawsuit against him when she realized how many children he had to his name. She told the court that Meijer promised the women who used his sperm that he would stop donating to reduce the risk of accidental incest, but he continued to donate anyhow.
“In conversations with the donor, many mothers have indicated that he should stop, but nothing helps,” Eva said when she filed her suit. “Going to court is the only way to protect my child.”
In addition to banning Meijer from donating sperm, the court also instructed him to call all the fertility clinics where he donated his sperm, so they can destroy the samples.
“The interests of the donor children and their parents outweigh the interest of the donor in continuing to donate sperm to new prospective parents,” the court ruled.
He will also face a $110,000 fine if he is caught trying to donate again.
But the court considered Meijer’s right to donate before making its decision. “On the one hand, the right to respect for the privacy of the parents and the donor children… and on the other hand, the same right of the donor,” the court deliberated.
Meijer’s lawyer said that he was just trying to help women who couldn’t conceive through other means.
However, the court finally ruled that he violated Dutch law by “deliberately” lying to the women who gave birth to his children. “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 wrote, stressing the potential negative psychosocial consequences for the children. “It is therefore in their interest that this kinship network is not extended any further.”
Eva said she was happy with the outcome. She hopes other countries limit how many children men can father to prevent this from happening again.
“We must stand hand in hand around our children and protect them against this injustice,” she said in a statement.
Records show Meijer has 102 children in the Netherlands. He now lives in Kenya and has donated sperm in Denmark and Ukraine.
The Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology blacklisted him in 2017, but he continued to donate “under the table.”