Sonogram of a patient who underwent in vitro fertilization. (Vanessa Serra Díaz)
A gynecologist in the Netherlands conceived at least 17 biological children by secretly donating his own sperm to women who came to the hospital where he worked for artificial insemination between the eighties and nineties, the medical center itself announced Tuesday.
Gynecologist Jan Wildschut, who died in 2009, donated his semen in the period between 1981 and late 1993. During that time, he used for artificial inseminations without couples who had attended the fertility clinic in the city of Zwolle, in the eastern Netherlands, they were aware, as they assumed that the semen came from anonymous donors.
In a statement, the Isala Hospital (then the Sophia de Zwolle Hospital) explained that what happened, which began to come to light at the end of 2019 after a DNA match in a commercial database, was corroborated with genetic tests compared to one of the legitimate children of the gynecologist.
The hospital, together with all the known children of Wildschut, decided to make the situation public to contribute to “greater openness” about the debate on “conception by donation” of sperm, but above all to alert to the risk of “congenital problems “Arising from possible relationships between half siblings,” who do not know that they share the same biological father.
“Parents who have not informed their children about their origins could still tell them that they are children of a donor,” adds the hospital, which considers what happened as “morally unacceptable” and a “violation of the relationship of trust with the patient.” .
At the moment, a total of 17 biological children have been confirmed by donation of the gynecologist, in addition to the legitimate children of the doctor, and all “have regular contact and a good relationship with each other,” although the family underlines in the statement that “no I had no idea “that this had happened and that” the discovery was a total surprise “to them.
The hospital, which does not rule out that there could be more children from this donor, has already prepared a genetic profile of the gynecologist's donor, and invites all those people born by sperm donation who want to determine if Wildschut could be his father, to register with the database to undergo the necessary tests.
Wildschut was one of the pioneering gynecologists in Artificial Insemination with Donor Semen and began in 1969 to work at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), repeatedly denouncing the “enormous donor shortage”, which limited treatments of insemination that could carry out to a maximum of thirty parents per year.