'The Man with 1000 Kids' is a controversial docuseries questioning the donor’s motivation

Jonathan Jacob Meijer. Picture: X

Jonathan Jacob Meijer. Picture: X

Published Jul 8, 2024


Netflix has once again ignited controversy with its latest docuseries, "The Man with 1000 Kids", shedding light on the ethical complexities around sperm donation.

The series is based on the story of Jonathan Jacob Meijer, a man who claims to have fathered 550 children, though some sources suggest the number could be higher - hence the title of the docuseries.

Described as charismatic with blonde hair and a captivating smile, Meijer attracted many women and, in doing so, they had that "I want to have your babies" mindset.

Coming from the Netherlands, Meijer's curly hair and artistic talents added to his allure, while his ability to build personal connections with clients made him approachable and desirable.

The families documented described him as “easy to talk to”.

Despite starting as a charitable endeavour, Meijer's sperm donations turned into an obsession to father more children than anyone else worldwide.

His extensive travels to provide donations across multiple countries complicated efforts to track the full extent of his genetic legacy, raising concerns about genetic overlap and familial relationships.

The average limit for sperm donation is typically capped at 25 to avoid consanguinity, which refers to the risk of genetic overlap and familial relationships among offspring. But Meijer had no intention of stopping at 25.

The docuseries vividly portrays the lives affected by Meijer's actions, featuring interviews with couples like Suzanne and Natalie, Joyce and John, and solo parents such as Vanessa, all of whom used Meijer's services found on the website: "Longing for a Child."

Suzanne and Natalie. Picture: X

Each couple recounts how Meijer assured them they were only the third or fourth to benefit from his donations, a claim that has sparked outrage and disbelief.

Critics argue that Meijer exploited vulnerable women seeking motherhood, leveraging his disarming traits to become a sought-after sperm donor.

His actions reignited debates on sperm donation regulations and responsibilities, especially regarding the potential risks of genetic consanguinity.

One interesting part of the series is hearing from women who are choosing a sperm donor. One woman compared it to picking different flavours of ice cream, showing how unusual it is to treat sperm donation like shopping.

Meijer had a different way of donating sperm. Instead of using sperm banks, he helped clients directly, sometimes masturbating in their bathrooms to provide samples. And in some cases, they did it the natural way.

When suspicions eventually arose, families joined forces on a Facebook group. They tracked his travels using his YouTube videos and compared them with donor lists from local sperm banks.

It soon became evident that he wasn't the altruistic young man they had initially thought. Instead, he was focused on fathering as many children as possible, despite the risks of genetic overlap and unintentional incest it could lead to.

However, Meijer recently appeared on BBC's "Woman's Hour" to talk about the Netflix series. He confirmed that he has fathered 550 children.

He also criticised Netflix for making him look bad, saying, "I don't think this is good journalism or a real documentary." Meijer also said he plans to sue Netflix for saying he mixed sperm samples, which he said was a lie.

The series has already gained so much attention and X users shared their opinion on the series.

@AmyL_IoM wrote: “This ‘The Man with 1000 Kids’ sperm donor docuseries on Netflix is terrifying. As an adopted person, I’ve always been aware of the rare but real risk someone could be genetically related to me, but this is next level… how horrific for all the families who were deceived.”

@bensonbent wrote: “The man with 1000 kids is insane. That's one crazy Netflix documentary!”

— BenTee (@bensonbent) July 4, 2024

@onlysandro wrote: “The Man with 1000 Kids doc is out of control.”

— Bing Bong Bailey AKA #GetSticky Guy (@onlysandro) July 4, 2024

The reason behind his doings remains unclear with families still left speculating on what it could be.