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Serial sperm donor Jonathan Meijer slams Netflix docuseries, threatens slander suit

In particular, Meijer said the allegation in Netflix's "The Man With 1000 Kids" that he mixed his sperm with another donor’s is a "blatant lie."

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images (File)

Jonathan Meijer, the prolific sperm donor who became the subject of Netflix’s latest hit docuseries, lambasted the show’s portrayal of him and said he is preparing a slander suit.

Released Wednesday, “The Man With 1000 Kids” interviews various couples and individual women who discovered that their sperm donor, Meijer, had fathered hundreds of children around the world through multiple sperm banks and private donations — giving rise to a risk of inbreeding among half siblings who may have no idea they are related.

Meijer, who did not participate in the docuseries, has claimed he has fathered approximately 550 children, not 1,000 as the title suggested. But the documentary alleges he lied to many families about the number of offspring he had produced.

Responding to the docuseries online, Meijer said in a YouTube video last week that when he first began donating, he did tell families the exact number of children he had helped create. But he later chose to stop giving out the real estimate.

“Technically I did not lie,” Meijer told NBC News in an email Monday. “I followed the guidelines of every large commercial international sperm bank that does not inform the recipients about the amount of offspring one donor will produce,” Meijer wrote, adding, “I was doing a much better thing, I gave the parents an estimated number, this was better and more info than they would ever get at any clinic.”

Eve Wiley, a fertility fraud activist who Meijer said has “nothing to do with [him],” estimated in the show that Meijer could have fathered thousands of children, depending on how many straws of his sperm were successfully used to conceive.

“What happens psychologically to these children that have 700, 800, 900 brothers and sisters?” Kate, an Australian mother who found Meijer through Denmark-based Cryos, the largest international sperm and egg bank in the world, said in the show. “How are they psychologically going to be able to deal with this information?”

In multiple videos posted to his YouTube channel last week, Meijer slammed the docuseries’ characterization of his motives.

“‘What kind of man would do that?’” Meijer said in a video, mimicking a line from the documentary’s trailer. “Well, it has to be a man that’s willing to help others, and a man that sees that he can, with his life, do something more than just live for himself, work for himself, and he wants to be useful to others. That’s the kind of man that does it, and I’m not an exception.”

Meijer, who said he stopped donating sperm in 2019, denied that he had developed an addiction to the act and said he takes offense to the show’s characterization of him as a “serial donor.”

“I dislike the word serial, because every donor is a serial [donor]. It’s just like, a donor helps multiple families. That’s quite common; it’s quite normal,” Meijer said in the video. “So this is really already adding this extreme negative aspect in the documentary, like ‘serial’ — serial killer, serial donor.”

Nonbinding medical guidelines in the Netherlands impose a cap of 25 children per sperm donor, and Dutch law prohibits people from donating at more than one clinic in the country. The New York Times reported in 2021 that Meijer, who is Dutch, had fathered at least 102 in the Netherlands through multiple clinics, as well as at least 80 through private donations.

Though the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology banned him from donating sperm in the Netherlands in 2017, Meijer continued to donate to recipients in other countries. In April last year, a Dutch court also banned him from donating sperm to new parents at the cost of 100,000 euros per violation.

Meijer also denied the documentary’s allegation that he had mixed his sperm with another donor’s before giving it to a recipient to see whose genes would “win.” The accusation was made in the documentary by a friend of Meijer’s who said that the other donor told her about the incident. Calling it a “blatant lie,” Meijer said in a video that he would pursue a slander suit if Netflix does not remove the claim from the show. 

He said in an email that he is in the process of suing the company.

Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Josh Allott, the docuseries’ director, told Netflix’s Tudum that he met with Meijer to speak with him about participating in the documentary.

“We approached him a number of times to be interviewed and gave him a right to reply at the end,” Allott said. “He refused to comment on any of the allegations in the series.”

Meijer acknowledged in his YouTube video that he declined to participate in the documentary, adding that he wanted to “stay humble” and “do my own story.” 

He told NBC News that he did “not want to cooperate IN ANY WAY with Netflix and it is their responsibility to not use lies and slander.”

This article first appeared on NBCNews.com. Read more from NBC News here:

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