The Netherlands: the court authorises DNA sampling of a former sperm bank director

Publié le : 19 June 2017

On Friday, the Dutch courts authorised DNA sampling from the personal effects of Jan Karbaat, a former sperm bank director who died recently. He is suspected to be the biological father of children born to twenty-two recipients who underwent in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the 1980s. He is believed to have “given his own sperm instead of donor sperm chosen at the sperm bank”, but he refused to undergo any DNA testing when he was alive (see Sperm bank director in the Netherlands could be responsible for the birth of 60 children). The judges have, however, decided that “the results of these tests should remain confidential until the process authorises comparison of the doctor’s DNA against that of many of the children born through in-vitro fertilisation”.

 

At the end of May, an initial “DNA comparison with the child born to Mr. Karbaat through marriage, and who voluntarily underwent testing, revealed that the doctor could be the biological father of 19 Dutch people born through IVF” (see the Netherlands: former sperm bank director – biological father of at least 19 children).

 

The Jan Karbaat Fertility Centre also underwent two public health inspections, which revealed “falsified data” concerning donors and exceeded the maximum agreed limit of six children per donor. The centre was closed in 2009.

 

To prevent this type of “bioethical scandal” occurring in France, MP Jacques Bompard has involved the Food and Agriculture Minister in the form of a written question, enquiring how she intends to apply French legislation in this area to reduce the number of sperm donors[1]. The law prohibits the same donor from fathering more than 10 children but “the checks are not consistent from one CECOS [2] to another”[3]. The MP believes it would be prudent to investigate how law is applied in this area.

 

[1] “The number of donors is 235 compared to 400 in 2009”.

[2] French Centre for the Study and Preservation of Human Eggs and Sperm.

[3] The system is based on “confidence placed in the donor”. No file common to all CECOS actually exists.

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