A gynaecologist from the former Sophia hospital in Zwolle fathered at least 17 children between 1981 and 1993 using his own sperm without informing the parents, the hospital has confirmed.
Jan Wildschut, who has since died, worked in the hospital’s artificial insemination unit and has been unmasked following a number of matches between apparently unrelated children in several commercial DNA banks.
The parents of one donor child approached the hospital, now renamed the Isala hospital, in 2019, an event which resulted in a meeting between a number of donor children and Wildschut’s ‘official’ offspring.
The hospital has named the doctor’s acts ‘morally unacceptable’. There may be more children but the hospital records do not give any more details, the website statement said.
The hospital has now put together a DNA profile of Wildschut so that donor children who want to know if he is their biological father can sign up for a free test.
The children, both legal and donor, have decided to go public for multiple reasons, the statement said. In particular, they hope to encourage more openness about donor conception and to head off the risk of birth defects if siblings have children together without knowing they are related.
The case is similar to that of fertility specialist Jan Karbaat who is known to have fathered at least 49 children.
Karbaat ran a fertility clinic in the Rotterdam suburb of Barendrecht for nearly 30 years until it was shut down in 2009 for failing to meet storage standards, and administrative irregularities.
Dutch law limits the number of people who can be conceived from one sperm donor to 25, and since 2004, children have the right to find out their donor’s identity when they are 16.