Five things we didn’t learn on Netflix’s The Man With 1000 Kids doc


Jonathan Jacob Meijer, the man at the heart of the new Netflix documentary The Man With 1000 Kids, is a Dutch musician who has reportedly fathered over 550 children through sperm donation.

The documentary featured families to whom Meijer donated over the years and their concerns when they realised that he had fathered so many children. Natalie, who used Meijer as a donor, spoke on the BBC Women’s Hour Podcast describing how Meijer informed her, that he “was only donating to five families but actually donated to 100s”.

The infamous sperm donor in question was interviewed on the same BBC podcast and described the documentary as “deceiving and misleading” and said that having hundreds of children is “a lot for a normal man not for a sperm donor”.

Fears of the donor children’s families are documented in the limited series, released on July 3rd . They worry that their children could potentially meet a half-sibling in the future unbeknownst to them and begin a relationship. Meijer, who began donating sperm after hearing about his friend’s infertility, started his donor journey at a Dutch clinic, before deciding to take a private route to help more families who wished to conceive.

It was reported in the Independent that the musician was banned from donating sperm to new families in 2023 and would be fined €100,000 if he did so. The Man With 1000 Kids raises many questions about sperm banks and private donors in our modern world, so, here are five things we didn’t learn from this new Netflix docu-series.


1. From 2020, donors must be non-anonymous in Ireland

The Children, Family, and Relationship Act 2015 commenced in Ireland in 2020.

This means that all donations (for sperm and egg) must now be non-anonymous. The donor must agree to open contact with the donor child once they reach 18 years old if they wish.

2. Money mostly isn’t a big factor for donors

Many people may assume that the reason people decide to donate their sperm is to make money. However, a survey by Cyros International showed that the main reason men choose to donate is because they have seen a family member or friend struggle to conceive.

Although the men receive a small compensation for their donation it isn’t usually a contributing factor in their decision.

3. People use sperm donors for many, many different reasons

Some common reasons include being in a same sex female couple, fertility issues, being a single woman, or if the male in a relationship carries a genetically hereditary condition.

Sperm donors allow these groups of people the opportunity to create a family. There are of course countless heartwarming sperm donor success stories.


4. A donor with an Ivy League degree?

When looking for a donor it’s common for parents to look for a profile that suits their criteria, e.g. ethnic background, eye colour, and other characteristics.

However, some hopeful parents look for something very particular… a college degree. Donor Concierge is an organisation that helps parents to find their perfect donor, and their Ivy League egg donor has become a popular option in recent years.

In the States, the concierge organisations scour donor banks and agencies looking for Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other prestigious college students who have donated their eggs. There are a growing number of American college students becoming donors due to the higher compensation rates being offered.

5. There are other famous sperm donors

Although Jonathan Jacob Meijer has become famous for being a donor to over 550 children, he is not the first man to father a mass amount of children.

Simon Watson claims to be Britain’s most prolific sperm donor and reports he has fathered up to 800 children. In an article by the BBC in 2016 Watson was advertising his unlicensed donor service on Facebook for £50.

According to the UK’s regulator of fertility treatment (HFEA), the issue with donating sperm outside licensed clinics is that the donor could potentially be “considered the legal father of any children conceived from your donation”.

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