01 Junio 2017 10:34
The resemblance between the doctor and one of his alleged 'secret children' is remarkable
The man in the photo is Dr Jan Karbaat in ripe old age. The joy on his face contrasts sharply with the shock experienced by all the women who have suddenly discovered that their children share the same father: Dr Karbaat himself.
Karbaat's case is very different from that of other 'serial inseminators' like Ed Houben: biological father of 106 children. Karbaat never presented himself to women as a potential sperm donor. Rather, he was their doctor, and the head of a Dutch fertility clinic. The sperm was supposed to come from other men. But Houben, it seems, liked to do things... his way.
For decades, the doctor secretly inseminated dozens of women. Instead of using the semen that the patients had selected from a catalogue of anonymous donors, Karbaat used his own
Jan Karbaat died last April, leaving in his wake an ever-growing scandal that first broke when his clinic was closed in 2009 amid reports of irregularities.
The Bijdorp Medical Centre opened in 1980 in Barendrecht, a suburb of Rotterdam, and quickly became one of the most important fertility centres in Holland. During the four decades that it remained in operation, the clinic helped 6,000 women give birth to almost 10,000 children.
Monique Aarts next to a photo of Karbaat, her probable biological father
When Bijdorp closed its doors in 2009, the reputation of Karbaat was already being called into question.
Dutch health authorities had discovered that illegal practices were being carried out there, such as mixing semen from several men during in vitro fertilisation treatments to increase the chances of pregnancy. But there was another twist to the tail yet to come.
Karbaat didn't just mix sperm cocktails. He also secretly donated his own sperm.
For decades, the doctor secretly inseminated dozens of women at his clinic. Instead of using the semen that the patients had selected from a catalogue of anonymous donors, Karbaat used his own. He did not tell any of the women what he was doing, nor did he ask them their consent.
Some of the women who used the clinic recall how Karbaat would say he was going to get 'fresh seed' from the room next to the insemination area minutes before commencing the procedure.
DNA tests carried out with the help of Karbaat's legitimate children suggest that the doctor is 'almost certainly' the father of 18 children conceived at the Bijdorp clinic. It is feared that he may have offspring scattered throughout Holland
The case against him began to solidify when, as a result of a change in Dutch legislation, more and more young people turned up at the clinic to request information about their biological fathers. People like Joey Hoofdman, interviewed in the video above. The first time Hoofdman saw a photo of a young Dr Karbaat he almost fell off his chair. And indeed, the resemblance is remarkable. Moniek Wassenaar, a 36-year-old psychiatrist and another potential child of Karbaat, had a strange encounter with the doctor in 2011.
On the left, Joey Hoofdman. On the right, Jan Karbaat as a young man
Wassenaar had wanted to meet her progenitor to 'find out what I had inherited and what was mine' according to the De Volkskrant newspaper. For this reason, she requested an appointment at Bijdorp. A few days before the agreed date she received an anonymous message on Facebook from someone saying that they might be sisters.
That someone turned out to be Karbaat's legitimate daughter. When Wassenaar met the doctor, he revealed himself to be proud of his actions: 'He [thought he] was in good health and intelligent, so he could share some of his genes with the world,' she said. 'He saw it as something noble. He had no concept of ethics and minimised the impact on the children. He told me that he was rendering a service to humanity by donating his semen and that he had probably fathered around 60 children during his time at the clinic.'
Publicly, however, the doctor always denied the accusations.
In his will, Karnaat requested that no DNA tests be carried out on him post-mortem. He also gave the order to disinherit any of his legitimate children who volunteered to undertake DNA testing themselves.
Science and the justice system are still attempting to get to the bottom of the matter. One of Karbaat's children volunteered for testing despite the will, and the results suggest that the doctor is 'almost certainly' the father of 18 children conceived at the Bijdorp clinic. Another 25 people have joined a collective paternity suit which will be resolved in court on June 2.
According to authorities, the Bijdopr clinic also served as a sperm bank for other fertility centres across the country. It is feared that he may have offspring scattered throughout Holland.