A doctor in the Netherlands allegedly used his own sperm to get patients pregnant without letting them know. DNA confirms he has more than a dozen biological children.

By Anna Halkidis
October 08, 2020
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A late gynecologist from a Dutch hospital is making headlines more than 10 years after his death, but it’s not because of his contribution to medicine. Instead, it’s because he allegedly used his own sperm to father at least 17 children without letting their parents know, the hospital revealed, as the Associated Press reports.

The doctor, Jan Wildschut, who died in 2009, worked at an artificial insemination program at Isala Hospital, formerly known as Sophia Hospital, located in Zwolle, in the northeastern Netherlands, from 1981 to 1993. The women he treated thought they were receiving sperm from an anonymous donor. The hospital says it had no clue this was going on, but is now condemning the actions.

Getty Images/Isabel Pavia

“From a moral perspective, Isala finds it unacceptable that a gynecologist-fertility doctor was both practitioner and sperm donor," the AP reports the hospital said in a statement.

The donor children were confirmed via DNA tests and have a “good relationship” with the gynecologist’s family. In order to keep track of other children the doctor may have secretly fathered, authorities have created a DNA profile of Wildschut.

While this may sound bizarre, it’s not the first time it’s happened. Jan Karbaat, a Dutch fertility doctor who died at 89 in 2017, was found to have fathered at least 49 kids without letting patients know. A gynecologist in Colorado named Paul Jones also made the news in 2019 after he was accused of artificially inseminating women without them knowing between the 1970s and 1990s. With the help of Ancestry DNA, it was discovered Dr. Jones became father to almost a dozen kids, reports state.

Is sperm donor anonymity to blame for these physicians’ wrongdoings? Sweden became the first nation to stop allowing anonymous sperm donation in 1985. Other nations later followed, including Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands—the latter passed a law in 2004 stating egg and sperm donors could no longer claim absolute anonymity.

In the United States, where laws vary state by state, many sperm donations are still anonymous. But with genetic testing so easily available these days, anonymity is becoming a thing of the past.

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