May 16 (UPI) — The deceased director of a Dutch fertility center has been accused in a lawsuit of using his own sperm to father several children.
In lawsuit, 12 people conceived with sperm from the center in the Netherlands decades ago suspect Dr. Jan Karbaat’s sperm was used. The doctor died last month at 89.
The children and 10 mothers asked a court in Rotterdam to give them access to the director’s DNA.
“I’m hoping that the judge will allow us to extract the DNA so we can use it to find out if we are his children,” one plaintiff, Moniek Wassenaar, 36, said to The New York Times.
The 12 children now range between 8 and 36 years old.
Karbaat ran the sperm bank from the back of his home in the Bijdorp section of Schiedam, near Rotterdam. About 10,000 children were conceived at the clinic.
The doctor billed himself as “a pioneer in the field of fertilization.”
The clinic closed in 2009 amid reports of irregularities.
The doctor requested in his will that no DNA tests be carried out on him.
Court officials have already seized personal objects that include a toothbrush from his home. The court could also order a test on one of his recognized children or call for the body to be exhumed.
Women treated at the fertility clinic report being told by Karbaat that he was getting “fresh seed” from a room next to the insemination area.
“They say it feels like they were raped by Karbaat,” Tim Bueters, the lawyer for the families told Dutch newspaper the Algemeen Dagblad.
Wassenaar, a psychiatrist, said she became aware of her possible genetic relationship with Karbaat when an anonymous tipster noticed the family resemblance of a photograph of Wassenaar with a newspaper article describing her attempts to learn her biological father’s identity.
Wassenaar later visited Karbaat.
“He said, ‘Let me see your hands; you could be a kid of mine,’ ” Wassenaar said, recalling shared traits that included large hands and mouth, high forehead and high cheekbones.
He seemed to have no problems with the deception, she said. The doctor refused a DNA test.
Wassenaar didn’t pursue the matter but changed her mind after hearing reports of other people trying to determine if the doctor was their biological father.
A lawyer with Defense for Children, a Switzerland-based organization that advocates children’s rights, helped prepare the lawsuit.
“We argue that the children who are donor-conceived have the same right as all the other children in society,” Laura Bosch said. “We created a case where the right to know your parents is central.”
Lisette de Haan, a lawyer who represents Karbaat’s widow, told The New York Times that her client had decided not to speak publicly about the litigation.
In 2004, Netherlands passed legislation requiring the identities of donors be made available to children conceived using their sperm when the children turn 16.
A 1996 law banned the payment of medical donors.