Gynecologist must provide DNA after suspected insemination with own sperm

Gynecologist must provide DNA after suspected insemination with own sperm
Gynecologist must provide DNA after suspected insemination with own sperm

A retired West Flemish gynecologist, who worked at the former Sint-Rembert Hospital in Torhout (today the AZ Delta in Roeselare, ed.), would have inseminated someone with his own sperm. A man who suspects that this makes him the gynecologist’s son has requested a comparative DNA test. The gynecologist opposed this by referring to the right to anonymity for donors.

“Based on, among other things, comparisons in online DNA databases, the man has a scientifically substantiated suspicion of paternity of the gynecologist himself,” can be read in a press release from the Bruges court, which is handling the case. “Instead of using the sperm of an anonymous donor, the gynecologist would have used his own sperm.”

When assessing the file, the court weighed the right to certainty about biological descent on the one hand and the right of a sperm donor to privacy and anonymity on the other. It was noted that the sperm donor knew that the action could lead to a biological descendant. Moreover, although the plaintiff’s parents had an agreement with the fertility clinic, their son was obviously not involved in those agreements. According to the judge, genetic anonymity has also become an illusion due to the arrival of DNA databases.

“Anonymity violated”

An important argument for the court was that anonymity normally comes from both sides, because the sperm donor and the intended parents do not know each other. In this case, the gynecologist may have broken that principle by inseminating his patient with his own sperm. He therefore knows whether or not he is the biological father, while the plaintiff remains uncertain. The judge therefore calls it striking that the gynecologist clings to the right to anonymity.

“A strong suspicion can be derived from the claimant’s investigation that the gynecologist himself violated anonymity when inseminating the claimant’s mother,” it said. “The legitimate expectation he invoked to remain anonymous cannot prevail, given that through his own actions he apparently violated the plaintiff’s mother’s expectation that she would be inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor.”

1,500 euros per day

An expert has been appointed to conduct a comparative DNA test. If the gynecologist does not cooperate, he will face a penalty of 1,500 euros for each day of delay. The gynecologist can still appeal against the verdict. Pending this, the sentence cannot be executed for the time being.

The court also expressly states that the gynecologist’s DNA profile may not be used for any other purpose.


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