Friday 10 July 2020

Dutch woman traces anonymous sperm donor father via dna banks

A Dutch woman has managed to trace her donor father using commercial dna banks in the US, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Emi Stikkelman, 32, sent three dna samples to dna banks, where a match was found with an Australian woman. Together with family history researcher Els Leijs, she was able to put together a family tree and finally identify her biological father.

Normal dna banks use 20 key markers but commercial agencies can use thousands, allowing them to cast a much wider net of potential relatives, the paper said.

Leijs uses commercial data banks such as  Family Tree, Ancestry and 23andMe which are particularly popular in the US and have been set up to allow people to trace their heritage. ‘Almost all Americans have roots outside the US, in Europe and Africa,’ she said.

Stikkelman and five other donor children have now set up a specialist agency Donor Detectives to help people find their biological father.

‘Donors should register, because sooner or later we will find them, Stikkelman told the paper. ‘It is your right to know where you come from.’

Sperm donors could remain anonymous in the Netherlands up to 2004 and donor children who attempt to trace their father are not helped by the relevant authorities. However, donors who don’t mind being traced can register their interest in their children.’

Stikkelman said that her foundation has already sent 70 samples to dna agencies from people trying to trace their father. ‘There is a group who will do whatever it takes to trace their donor father,’ she said.

Those samples have already led to three people finding sisters, Leijs told the paper.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.