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Netflix’s ‘The Man with 1000 Kids’: Danish Sperm Donor Controversy Unfolds

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Suzanne and Natalie in “The Man with 1000 Kids.”

  • Netflix’s “The Man with 1000 Kids” is about a prolific Danish sperm donor, Jonathan Jacob Meijer.
  • In April 2023, Meijer was banned by a Dutch court from being a sperm donor.
  • Subjects in the docuseries claim that he has donated to fertility clinics worldwide.

Netflix’s latest docuseries, “The Man with 1000 Kids,” delves into the ethical quandaries surrounding sperm donation, centering on Jonathan Jacob Meijer, a man who claims to have fathered 550 children. Some mothers who have used Meijer’s sperm believe the actual number is much higher.

Released on July 3, the series features five couples who sought Meijer’s help to grow their families, having found him on a website called “Longing for a Child.” Each couple claims in the documentary that Meijer said they were the third or fourth couple he had assisted.

In 2017, Meijer was banned from donating sperm by the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology after it was discovered that he had donated to 11 different fertility clinics in the country, including the global sperm bank, Cryos International, which sends samples worldwide.

This isn’t Netflix’s first exploration of the ethical challenges of sperm donation. The 2022 documentary “Our Father” examined an American fertility doctor who deceived couples by using his own sperm. According to “What’s On Netflix,” the documentary garnered 42.60 million hours of viewership in its first three weeks. Netflix, now recognized for its successful docuseries and true crime shows, hopes to exceed those numbers.

Natalie, part of a Dutch couple who used Meijer’s sperm in 2012, told “The Independent” that the situation poses a “public health hazard.” She emphasized the potential future consequences due to the sheer number of children Meijer has fathered.

Her partner, Suzanne, added, “They can never just date somebody or have intercourse with somebody. They will always need to be cautious, and even then, they might not know they are donor children. It’s a very dangerous and unhealthy situation for these children and their descendants.”

In April 2023, The Hague District Court ordered Meijer to cease sperm donation. He faces fines of €100,000 for each future violation, according to “Dutch News.”

Despite this, Meijer maintains a YouTube channel documenting his global travels, with the docuseries suggesting he has donated to clinics worldwide.

Natalie remarked, “That’s why we’re still raising awareness and hoping for global legislation. He is not stopping at borders, and he’s not the only one. There are more like him out there.”

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Jonathan Jacob Meijer on a beach as seen in Netflix’s “The Man with 1000 Kids.”

Meijer, when questioned about his alleged global donations, told “Business Insider,” “As a bank donor doing regular visits, I was only active in the Netherlands for Cryos. Outside of them, I’ve donated a few times to different clinics and privately for a couple of people.”

Responding to Meijer’s decision to not appear in the documentary, Natalie commented, “He was given a right to respond. His comments are always: ‘This is untrue, and the women are just angry mothers.’ We’re not angry. We just want him to stop.”

Meijer appeared on BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” to discuss the Netflix series, confirming from his records that he has fathered 550 children. He also criticized Netflix for its negative portrayal of him.

“I think Netflix did a great job selecting the five families out of the 225 families that I’ve helped, and they will definitely tell you something different. If someone calls this journalism or an official documentary, I don’t see the value,” he remarked.

Meijer stated to “Business Insider” that he ceased donating sperm in 2019 and threatened legal action against Netflix for alleging in the docuseries that he mixed his sperm sample with another donor’s to see whom the child would resemble.

“I will take legal action for slander, this is really insane!” he said.

Netflix did not immediately respond to “Business Insider’s” request for comment on Meijer’s threats.

Source: Business Insider