IVF doctor fathered at least 49 children, DNA tests show

Some of the children Dr Jan Karbaat fathered posing after a court ruled that the results of his DNA test be made available to them. Before his death in 2017, he reportedly admitted to having fathered about 60 children. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Some of the children Dr Jan Karbaat fathered posing after a court ruled that the results of his DNA test be made available to them. Before his death in 2017, he reportedly admitted to having fathered about 60 children. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THE HAGUE • A Dutch doctor at the centre of an IVF scandal fathered at least 49 children, an organisation representing parents and children born through his now-closed clinic has said.

Dr Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017, is the father of 49 children born after women visited his Rotterdam clinic, where he used his own sperm instead of sperm from a chosen donor to inseminate them, Defence for Children said.

Results of DNA tests conducted last Friday at a hospital in the south-eastern city of Nijmegen "showed that 49 children in the case are direct descendants of the late Karbaat", the organisation said in a statement.

"The results confirm serious suspicions that Karbaat used his own sperm at his clinic," Defence for Children added.

The controversial case became public after a Dutch court ruled in February that the results of Dr Karbaat's DNA test should be made available to parents and children to conduct their own comparisons.

Before his death, aged 89, Dr Karbaat reportedly admitted to having fathered about 60 children in his time at the discredited clinic, which closed in 2009 amid reports of irregularities.

Dr Karbaat later also admitted to mixing sperm from various donors and issuing fraudulent donor documentation, the Dutch daily newspaper NRC reported.

The group of suspected "Karbaat children" dragged his family to court to force them to release Dr Karbaat's DNA profile, which was kept locked in a safe.

The Karbaat family's lawyers had argued that their clients' right to privacy had to be respected.

"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 adviser Iara de Witte said.

"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."

One of the children, Mr Eric Lever, recently told the NRC newspaper he was "not angry with Karbaat".

"I don't get the feeling that he cheated my mother," he told the NRC paper. "She really wanted a child and could not have one with my parental father."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 14, 2019, with the headline 'IVF doctor fathered at least 49 children, DNA tests show'. Print Edition | Subscribe