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The Case of the Serial Sperm Donor

Moreover, unlike sperm banks in the Netherlands, which prohibit anonymous donation, international sperm banks commonly register donors under an alias or a number. Also, they rely on clients to voluntarily report the births of their children when keeping track of sperm donor offspring, and that tally is not always accurate. And there is no international registry of sperm donors, so a recipient has no easy way of knowing where else her donor might have donated or how many half siblings her children might have.

Ms. de Boer said she has been in touch with mothers who have had children by Mr. Meijer in Australia, Italy, Serbia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Mexico and the United States. Several were in contact with the two Dutch mothers who are friends of Ms. van Ewijk, and they confirmed their accounts with this reporter.

A German woman told The Times that she acquired Mr. Meijer’s sperm through Cryos; although he donated under an alias, she was able to figure out his real name. In 2019 she received a letter from Cryos notifying her that her donor “has donated in countries outside of Denmark, therefore breaching the contract he had with Cryos to donate exclusively to our sperm bank.”

The letter added, “This means that the donor has allegedly achieved more pregnancies than the pregnancies registered in our system.” The company also notified the Danish health authorities, the letter said, and had stopped distributing his semen.

In an email, Mr. Meijer said he did not recall being told that he was barred from donating at other clinics: “Clinics did intensive health and genetics screening and interviewing and I passed them all but I do not remember this procedure clearly to say anything about it.” In a second email he said, “There were no strict agreements amongst sperm banks (up until recently) to check if donors hadn’t been donating elsewhere.”

Reached for comment, Peter Reeslev, the chief executive of Cryos, insisted that a Cryos donor could not have signed up without being aware of the exclusivity clause. “NO,” he wrote in an email. “Donors sign and commit in contractual terms to not donate in any other tissue establishments than Cryos before and undertake not to donate sperm to other sperm banks/tissue centers in the future as well.”

He added, “On a general level, Cryos disassociates itself from any form of serial sperm donation due to the importance of not exceeding national pregnancy quotas” in each country to which they send sperm.

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