Friday 14 May 2021

Pre-2004 sperm donors can retain anonymity after all

new baby hand in adult handKnown sperm donors from before 2004, when a law banned anonymous donation, have been given the option to remove their data despite an agreement with parents made at the time, broadcaster NOS reports.

In an internal letter from health minister Hugo de Jonge obtained by current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, donors who had been registered as ‘known’ before the law came into force can now switch back to ‘anonymous’ making them untraceable to their children.

According to the minister the option is part of a transitional period and part of donors’ rights before 2004. The current law obliges donors to provide their personal information.

Nieuwsuur also found that fertility clinics had in very few cases asked their donors whether they wanted to remain anonymous or were prepared to be contacted by their children, a requisite of the law. They also failed to enter all data on donors and pregnancies in a central database.

It now transpires that in December the health ministry and the foundation in charge of the database made a new agreement to give donors from before 2004 the option to change their mind on anonymity.

This flies in the face of an agreement made with parents at the time that their children could request the information after they had reached the age of 16.


‘This is not in the spirit of the 2004 law (..) which was meant to give information to donor children, not provide an escape route for donors to remain anonymous,’ Ester de Lau of Stichting Donorkind told the broadcaster.

‘Children have the right to know who their parents are but the law stipulates that donors from before 2004 have to give permission for their data to be shared and that creates a legal conflict,’ professor of juvenile justice Mariëlle Bruning told NOS.

‘It is very hard on a 16-year-old to find the donor has changed his mind but you can’t force him. We can only impress on him how important it is to the child.’

Christen Unie MP Carla Dik-Faber said the move was ‘not at all logical one’ and wants De Jonge to talk to the donor child organisations.

Thank you for donating to

The 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. 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.