A man in the Netherlands has fathered at least 550 children through sperm donation, but after a recent court ruling, he won’t be able to donate any more.
According to a New York Times report, the 41-year-old Dutch man lied to at least 11 sperm clinics in the Netherlands about his donation history and the number of children he’d already fathered. He also donated at banks in Denmark and Belgium, some of which may have sent sperm abroad, and offered his sperm on social media platforms. His donations over a 16-year period are believed to have produced between 550 and 600 children.
After a lawsuit filed by the Dutch Donor Child Foundation—which represents children born from sperm donation—as well as the mother of a child he fathered, courts ruled that further donation by the man would have negative psychological consequences for his children. The court cited the inability for such a vast group of children to have relationships with all their biological siblings, as well as the potential for accidental incest from so many strangers being genetically related.
According to The Associated Press, the man maintains that he was only trying to help parents who could not conceive. Still, Dutch courts found that the rights of his children and prospective parents were more important, and he’s been barred from further donation.
The Netherlands and Belgium have instituted new rules in light of the case, announcing centralized registries to prevent one person from donating too many times. Previous guidelines in the Netherlands stipulated that a man could conceive a maximum of 25 children with 12 mothers, but didn’t track donations across sperm banks.