Zwolle gynecologist inseminated at least 17 women with his own sperm
Zwolle gynecologist Jan Wildschut fathered at least 17 children by using his own sperm to inseminate patients in the 1980s and 1990s. The fact that the man, who died in 2009, used his own sperm instead of the sperm of anonymous donors came to light when one of the children went in search for DNA matches, AD reports.
17 children have been found to be fathered by Wildschut. Their mothers were treated by Wildschut between 1981 and 1993 and assumed the sperm came from anonymous donors. This happened in the fertility clinic of the former Sophia hospital, one of the predecessors of the current Isala hospital, in Zwolle.
This ethically questionable practice came to light through an accidental DNA match in a commercial DNA data base. A donor child's DNA was matched with that of Wildschut's niece. Using the Fiom database, which specializes in shedding light for children born through unwanted pregnancy or sperm donors, linked 16 more children to Wildschut.
The 17 children teamed up and made contact with Wildschut's relatives and the Isala hospital late last year. Together they will release a statement calling for more openness about donor conception. They find it important that donor children know who their biological father is, at the very least to prevent the risk of relationships between half-siblings.
The Isala hospital helped to create a donor profile for Wildschut, to make it easier for donor children to find out if he was their biological father. Donor children who want to check whether the deceased gynecologist fathered them can do so for free by registering wit Fiom or contacting the Isala hospital.
"We feel responsible and that determines how we deal with this now," Isala director Ina Kuper said to AD. The hospital was "completely shocked" by the revelation of Wildschut's actions and explicitly distanced itself from it. "This violates the relationship of trust with the patient. He could be a donor, but not in his own hospital."
"Until now, the children have seen no reason to hold us liable," Kuper continued. "Their parents are very happy with their child and they still are. But there are also mixed feelings for them. They realize now that the treatment they received was not morally correct."
Wildschut's family gave AD a short statement: "We had no idea this happened, the discovery was a total surprise for us."
"Dr. Wildschut made a friendly, committed and honest impression on us, both in the preliminary phase and during the treatment," one of the parents anonymously told the newspaper. "We never had any suspicion that he himself could have been the donor."
This is the second known case in the Netherlands in which a fertility doctor used his own sperm to inseminate patients. Deceased doctor Jan Karbaat fathered at least 49 children in this way at former fertility clinic Bijdorp Medical Center in Barendrecht.