DNA analysis confirms that a Dutch IVF doctor secretly fathered dozens of children with his own sperm instead of using sperm from chosen donors, reports Agence France Presse (AFP).
Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017 at the age of 89, fathered at least 49 children of women who visited his clinic in Rotterdam.
Before his death, Karbaat allegedly claimed to have fathered as many as 60 children while he ran a now-discredited clinic that closed its doors in 2009. It’s believed that the doctor falsified data and the descriptions of donors.
The process began in April 2017, when those born through the doctor’s IVF treatment demanded that DNA tests be done. However, he reportedly denied the accusations and chose not to cooperate in investigations. He died while the lawsuit was still active, leaving his family to take over. At the time, a judge found that there wasn’t enough evidence to allow DNA analysis and ruled that the doctor’s DNA, which was collected from 27 personal objects including his toothbrush, be locked away in a safe.
In February of this year, a Dutch court ruled that the results of Karbaat’s DNA tests should be made available to the families who were treated by the man so that they may compare his DNA against their own. Under Dutch law, children born to donors before 2004 do not have a legal right to know the identity of their fathers, however, law restricts the number of people to be conceived by one donor to 25, which would make Karbaat’s alleged actions illegal.
"However, with the judges agreeing to the paternity test, the judge placed the children's rights above those of Karbaat and his family," Defence for Children advisor Lara de Witte told AFP. "Now, after years of uncertainty, the plaintiffs can finally close a chapter and start processing the fact that they are one of Karbaat's many descendants.”
It’s unclear why the doctor would have used his own sperm instead of that from donors. Defence for Children says that those who think they may be involved can find out by applying to Fiom, a Netherlands-based database that matches children conceived through IVF to their anonymous donors.