Who Is 'The Man With 1,000 Kids'? All About Serial Sperm Donor Jonathan Meijer at Center of New Netflix Series

Jonathan Jacob Meijer has fathered more than 500 children with sperm donation. Find out where he is now

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p> Jonathan Jacob Meijer in

Courtesy of Netflix

Jonathan Jacob Meijer in 'The Man With 1000 Children'.

Jonathan Jacob Meijer is the subject of Netflix's new documentary The Man With 1,000 Kids.

Premiering July 3, the docuseries examines the Dutch YouTube personality, who has donated enough sperm worldwide to father anywhere between 500 and 1,000 children for families, and the impact his prolific donations have had on his children and their parents.

In a video Meijer released in October 2023, he claimed to have spent as many as 50,000 hours in sperm donation clinics over the course of 15 years.

Meijer has maintained for years that his prolific sperm donation is merely a means of altruism for him.

"It seemed like something very small with a big impact, enormous impact, and still the donor is in the background," he said. "He's not getting awards, or fame, or money, and I found that very appealing. These men do something without wanting something in return ... That, to me, felt very noble."

In April 2023, however, a Dutch court banned Meijer from donating more sperm after some families with children conceived using Meijer's sperm filed a civil lawsuit against the YouTube personality.

So who is "the man with 1,000 kids"? Here's everything to know about Jonathan Meijer and where he is now.

Who is Jonathan Meijer?

<p>Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock</p> Jonathan Meijer and his lawyer Richard van der Zwan take their seats in court on April 13, 2023.

Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock

Jonathan Meijer and his lawyer Richard van der Zwan take their seats in court on April 13, 2023.

Meijer is a Dutch YouTuber and musician who's previously worked as a civics teacher, cryptocurrency consultant and mail carrier, according to The Mirror. In a February 2024 YouTube video, he said that while studying to be a teacher, a classmate told him he was infertile, which moved and inspired him to donate sperm to help families who had difficulty conceiving children naturally. He's most famous for being known as the man who donated sperm to have upwards of 500 children worldwide.

He said in a July 2024 YouTube video that he comes from a large family with seven siblings, and in an October 2023 clip, said that because he doesn't have a family history of cancer, diabetes or genetic diseases, he thought donating sperm would be a kind thing to do for others. He previously claimed that he doesn't understand why anyone is "obsessed" with his life.

"I have approximately 250 children. Assumptions of 1,000 are ridiculous," Meijer told The New York Times in 2021. "I am disappointed by the obsession of the numbers [sic]. I became a donor not for any numbers but out of love to help parents with realizing their dream. I cannot understand how anyone can only focus on numbers and see my donor children as a number."

What is Jonathan Meijer accused of doing?

Meijer is accused of deceiving parents to use his sperm donations to have children.

Meijer was first banned from donating sperm through the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Netherlands in 2017, ABC News reported. At that time, he'd already fathered 102 babies through his sperm donations to 11 clinics and another sperm bank called Cryos, which operates internationally — well over the Dutch legal limit of 25 children by up to 12 different mothers. He reportedly lied not just to potential parents, but also to clinics, pledging to each that he'd donated solely to their banks.

"I want to do something meaningful with my life," Meijer told German media (via The Mirror) of his motivations. "Yes, I lied to the women. That was wrong. I wanted to help them."

Despite Meijer's 2017 ban from sperm donation, Meijer continued donating through other clinics abroad. According to the Daily Mail, Meijer allegedly used a different name at times to appeal to families seeking sperm donations online and lied to parents about how many children he'd previously fathered through donations, saying he'd only fathered between 10 and 15 children. (Meijer told The New York Times in 2021 that he'd never used an alias.)

How did Jonathan Meijer get caught?

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p> Eve Wiley in 'The Man With 1000 Children'.

Courtesy of Netflix

Eve Wiley in 'The Man With 1000 Children'.

Some mothers of children conceived with Meijer's donated sperm met by chance and noticed that their children looked alike. Eventually, more than 150 parents of Meijer's children connected online and even created a Facebook group together and contacted the Donorkind Foundation for help.

The Donorkind Foundation, an organization that focuses on the rights of children conceived through sperm donation and helps donor children trace their roots to their biological relatives, received more than 30 calls in a single week from mothers concerned that their children all had the same donor. A representative for the foundation told ABC News that the calls came from "all over the world" regarding Meijer and that his case was part of why they fight for stricter regulations for sperm donation — including a ban on anonymous donations.

How many children did Jonathan Meijer father with his sperm donations?

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p> Vanessa in 'The Man With 1000 Children'.

Courtesy of Netflix

Vanessa in 'The Man With 1000 Children'.

Estimates vary for how many children Meijer has fathered via his sperm donations, with some estimates at 500 and others, as in The Man With 1,000 Kids, in the upwards of 1,000. The New York Times reported that in addition to more than 100 children in his native Netherlands, Meijer has offspring in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States. Meijer previously claimed to have stopped donating sperm in 2019.

Meijer doesn't have close relationships with most of the children he's sired and has no relationship at all with others.

"I like to meet them," he told German media (via The Mirror). "But emotionally, they feel more like my nephews and nieces. Otherwise, it would be too much for me." In a May 2024 YouTube video, Meijer said that his relationships with his donor children "changed overnight" after the April 2023 court decision banned him from donating sperm. He alleged that while he used to enjoy occasional days out with some of the families of children he'd fathered, he claimed that he blocked contact with parents who participated in the lawsuit and that "a very aggressive few" parents and families turned against him after participating in the Netflix documentary.

One mother, Vanessa van Ewijk, who has two children through Meijer's donations, told The Guardian, "He wanted to be somewhat involved with the kids, to know how they were doing ... I really wanted my children to have that. That's all gone now — and it won't ever, ever get better."

Why was Jonathan Meijer banned from donating sperm?

In April 2023, a Dutch court banned Meijer from donating sperm to clinics, facing a fine of 100,000 euros (about $118,000) for each violation, Reuters reported. In addition to being banned from donating more sperm, Meijer was also ordered to write to clinics where he'd donated sperm previously, instructing them to destroy his samples, with the exception of samples reserved for families who'd already had children from his donations.

The decision came after some families with children conceived using Meijer's donated sperm teamed up with the Donorkind Foundation to file a civil lawsuit against him, alleging that he violated the children's rights to a private, personal life, according to Reuters. The suit claimed that because Meijer fathered so many children through sperm donation the children's fear of accidental incest and inbreeding will damage their romantic lives as adults.

The court said in their ruling (per the BBC), "All these parents are now confronted with the fact that the children in their family are part of a huge kinship network, with hundreds of half-siblings, which they did not choose." The court added that it was "sufficiently plausible" that Meijer's hundreds of children would have adverse social and psychological impacts of having so many siblings.

"If I had known he had already fathered more than 100 children I would never have chosen him," one mother named Eva told The Times of London. "If I think about the consequences this could have for my child I am sick to my stomach. Many mothers have told him he needs to stop, but nothing helps. So going to court is the only option I have to protect my child."

Where is Jonathan Meijer now?

Meijer spends much of his time traveling the world and posting YouTube videos from his trips. He denounced The Man With 1,000 Kids despite admitting to never seeing it and refused to participate in its production.

"I don't know much about it because I didn't participate in it," he said in a June 2024 video. "It's what they think about me and what others say about me. I was right in not participating for myself, personally, because they first wanted to call it The Fertility Fraudster. That's not a title I can work with."

"I think the title is sensationalizing and misleading," he said. He added that he didn't like the title's alleged implication that he may have had relationships with many women, explaining, "If they would say The Sperm Donor With 1,000 Children, it would be different."

Meijer also insists that he has nowhere near 1,000 children.

"I don't know where they get this number, I don't know where they base it on. From my knowledge, I helped out with 550 children," he said. "So somehow they manage to magically add 450 children to my records."

In a July 1, 2024, video, he complained that it's "always the same four or five families that show up for the media" and that they focused on superficial things like his hair and appearance over anything he deemed of substance, such as his punctuality or politeness.

He also criticized the second trailer released for the series, claiming, "I think it would make a good legal case to sue them for slander or something ... I'm a donor for 17 years. Every child is unique, with their own shape, their own colors. Unique souls born into unique families. They're not [made from] mass production."

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