Gynaecologist fathered at least 17 children using his own sperm without telling the parents, his Dutch hospital reveals

  • Jan Wildschut, now deceased, tricked his patients who are in shock at the news
  • His deceit came to light after a donor child found a link through a DNA database
  • Isala hospital in Zwolle has created a DNA profile to help other potential relatives
  • No criminal investigation will follow as his actions were not illegal at the time

A deceased gynaecologist has fathered at least 17 children with women who thought they were receiving sperm from anonymous donors, a Dutch hospital has revealed. 

Jan Wildschut worked from 1981 to 1993 at the fertility clinic of the former Sophia hospital, today called Isala hospital in the eastern Dutch city of Zwolle.

‘A total of 17 donor children are currently known, in addition to the legal children of this former gynaecologist,’ Isala said in a statement on Tuesday, describing Wildschut’s actions as ‘morally unacceptable’.

Jan Wildschut, a deceased gynaecologist, fathered at least 17 children by using his own sperm in fertility treatments without his patient's knowledge, a hospital said. The information came to light when one of the donor children found she was related to Wildschut's niece after using a DNA database

Jan Wildschut, a deceased gynaecologist, fathered at least 17 children by using his own sperm in fertility treatments without his patient’s knowledge, a hospital said. The information came to light when one of the donor children found she was related to Wildschut’s niece after using a DNA database

During his time working at the hospital, Wildschut was involved in the hospital’s artificial insemination programme with donor sperm, called KID in Dutch. 

It was unknown whether he sired more children, the hospital said, but authorities have created a DNA profile of him so that other children born following fertility treatment at the hospital can check if Wildschut is also their biological father.

Learning of the news in 2019, the hospital decided to make it public together with the doctor’s family and donor children to ‘contribute to greater transparency’ in the issue of sperm donation.

The Netherlands’ De Stentor newspaper said the matter was first uncovered when a donor child discovered a DNA match via a commercial database with a niece of Wildschut, who had died in 2009.

‘We never suspected that he could have been the donor,’ a parent who wished to remain anonymous told the paper.

Wildschut gave a ‘friendly, committed and honest impression’, the parent said.

This is the second time in as many years that the Netherlands has been hit with a scandal involving fertility doctors using their own sperm on patients. In 2019, Jan Karbaat, a doctor in Rotterdam, was found to have fathered at least 49 children

This is the second time in as many years that the Netherlands has been hit with a scandal involving fertility doctors using their own sperm on patients. In 2019, Jan Karbaat, a doctor in Rotterdam, was found to have fathered at least 49 children

The hospital said that Wildschut’s donor children, who have been confirmed using DNA tests, and his family are in regular contact and have a good relationship with each other. 

The Dutch Health and Youth Inspectorate has declined to open a probe, as ‘this case took place at a time when there were no laws or regulations governing fertility treatments,’ the hospital said.

Last year, the Netherlands was rocked by another such scandal after it came out that Jan Karbaat – a Dutch doctor in Rotterdam – had fathered at least 49 children while inseminating women seeking fertility treatment. 

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