A doctor who claimed to have fathered 60 children has become the center of an IVF scandal in the Netherlands. Even after his death, the man has been accused of using his own sperm during the complex process.
A Dutch court on Friday ruled that DNA tests may be conducted on the former director of a fertility clinic after 22 parents and children claimed he may have used his own sperm instead of that of donors during in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.
The plaintiffs said Jan Karbaat, who ran the fertility clinic in Rotterdam, claimed to have conceived 60 children. Before his death in April, Karbaat and his family had refused to participate in DNA tests to determine whether he was the biological father of claimants.
However, the court's decision effectively paves the way for tests after police earlier this month seized personal items from his wife's house, including a toothbrush.
"DNA samples of a recently deceased doctor may be taken from sequestered goods to establish a DNA profile," the Rotterdam court said. "The results of this examination must remain sealed until another judge rules whether or not the results can be compared with the DNA of a group of children."
The scandal widened last month when Dutch social service institute FIOM, charged with investigating the case, said it compared DNA provided by one of Karbaat's legitimate children and 19 born from IVF.
The institute said the results showed Karbaat could be the father of 19 children born through IVF treatment.
However, it did not offer details as to whether the 19 positive matches from the test included any of the 22 plaintiffs in the court case. The plaintiffs comprise children born of IVF treatment from as far back as the 1980s.
Following a series of complaints, administrative irregularities and two public health inspections, Dutch authorities shuttered Karbaat's clinic in 2009. A lawyer representing the Karbaat family has fought against further tests, arguing that it violates their privacy.
This is not the first case involving controversy over IVF treatment in the Netherlands. Last year, the University Medical Center in Utrecht said a "procedural error" may have caused up to 26 women to be fertilized with the wrong sperm
ls/sms (AFP, dpa)