A former Dutch gynaecologist has been revealed as the biological father to at least 17 children, the hospital where he practiced announced on Tuesday.
The now-deceased practitioner used his own sperm during artificial inseminations on women who thought they were using anonymous donors, the hospital said.
Jan Wildschut worked at the fertility clinic of the hospital in Zwolle between 1981 and 1993. He died in 2009.
The hospital confirmed that at least 17 children were conceived through his practices, describing these acts as “morally unacceptable”.
The result was confirmed through various ”matches” in a number of commercial DNA databases.
The institution has not ruled out the possibility that Wildschut, who was already a father, is the biological parent of more children.
The hospital said it learned of the news at the end of 2019. It said it had decided to make it public together with the doctor’s family and the children concerned to contribute to “greater transparency” in the matter of sperm donations.
“Every child has the right to know who their biological parents are, but some parents […] are afraid to tell their children that they are a donor child,” the hospital said in a statement.
The donor children and the family of the gynecologist are said to be in regular contact and in a “good relationship”.
The Health Deva and Youth Inspectorate are not launching an investigation, because the case took place at a time when there were no laws and regulations for fertility treatments, according to the hospital.
Last year, a series of DNA tests showed that the former director of a Dutch sperm bank, suspected of repeatedly using his own sperm instead of that of the chosen donor, was the biological father of 49 children, in a case that caused a scandal in the Netherlands.