Twenty-three Dutch individuals, conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) during the 1980’s, have filed suit against Jan Karbaat, the late head of a sperm bank near Rotterdam, suspecting him of donating his own sperm and being their biological father. 

Jan Karbaat, who died last April, is accused of having falsified sperm donor records. One of the claimants, 36-year old Moniek, declared that Mr Karbaat himself admitted to having fathered 60 children born by IVF. She testified: “he saw it as something noble. He had no notion of ethics and downplayed the impact on the IVF kids.” 

On Friday, May 12, the 23 claimants requested for the Rotterdam Civil Court to perform DNA testing on the late sperm bank director. Although the latter stipulated in his will, that such tests should not be performed following his death, other arguments were presented by the legal system and the families’ lawyer justified: “This is an identity issue which helps someone develop his personality. It’s a child’s basic right to know his origins, who his parents are.”

The clinic was closed in 2009, due to administrative irregularities.

The verdict is due to be pronounced on June 2nd.

Last October, Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schipps, was shocked by the lack of sperm donor regulations in the country’s infertility clinics. Theoretically in the Netherlands, each donor is limited to a maximum number of six donations.

These past few years, several IVF scandals involving sperm donations, have been reported. Last September, an American doctor, was accused of having inseminated 50 patients with his own sperm from 1970 to 1980. In June 2016, in the UK, Canada and the USA, 36 women pressed charges when the donor chosen to be the biological father of their child was revealed to be a schizophrenic criminal and not a “neuro-scientific genius” as originally claimed.

Even without intentional abuse, there is a genuine risk that a brother and sister could live in the same neighborhood, as was the case when two best friends in England accidentally discovered that they had the same father.

In France in June 2012, the Canadian film Starbuck, was released relating how a man accidentally discovers he is the genitor of 533 children! Even if the storyline is fictitious, several true incidents worldwide demonstrate the complete lack of regulatory control for sperm donations. When the film was presented, the producer cited the famous quote from the New York Times: “We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm.”