The Man with 1000 Kids donor Jonathan Jacob Meijer says his kids could use social media symbol to avoid incest

Jonathan Jacob Meijer, the prolific sperm donor at the center of the new Netflix documentary The Man with 1000 Kids, suggested his many donor children could use a social media symbol to reduce the chance of them unwittingly having incestuous relationships with each other.

The Netflix docuseries details how Meijer spent many years donating both to sperm banks and to women he met privately. In 2023, The Hague District Court banned him from sperm donation over fears of inbreeding after he admitted to fathering over 550 children globally.

During that trial, the Dutch judge asked Meijer about the risk of incest. According to court documents presented in the series, his lawyers responded: “The defence argues that if they are worried about incest, his donor children can use a social media symbol to identify themselves as one of his children.”

One of the donor mothers, an Australian woman named Kate, dismissed the idea. “It was a horrible suggestion,” she says during the series. “A lot of children may not want to display a symbol. A lot of those children may want to maintain their privacy.”

Questioned about the suggestion by The Independent, Meijer at first claimed: “I forgot I said that!” before adding: “But it’s a serious point.”

He went on to argue that he’d come up with the idea in an attempt to illustrate the possibilities presented by social media, adding that when he first started donating sperm in 2007 it hadn’t existed.

Jonathan Jacob Meijer, the sperm donor at the centre of Netflix’s ‘The Man with 1000 Kids' (Jonathan Jacob Meijer)
Jonathan Jacob Meijer, the sperm donor at the centre of Netflix’s ‘The Man with 1000 Kids' (Jonathan Jacob Meijer)

“I just wanted to emphasize that when I started as a donor there was no Facebook, no YouTube, Instagram. Maybe not even WhatsApp,” he said. “The world has changed so drastically. When Facebook came, I knew 100 per cent that people would find each other, recipients and children. That’s what happened. People can so easily create a group for donor recipient parents in the Netherlands and they will talk. ‘My donor is from the Hague.’ ‘Oh, mine too!’ And they have my name.”

He added: “The symbol was more to show that in the digital world there are always solutions. I think people talk way too much about problems. It can be simple. If they want, they can put a symbol. You have to think openly and not see in every corner a problem.”

Earlier this week The Independent spoke to Natalie and Suzanne, two of the donor mothers featured in the docuseries, about how their lives had been upended by the discovery of how many siblings their child has and their fears over potential inbreeding.

Meijer also spoke to The Independent about why he feels the series was misleading, and the specific accusations he calls “total slander”.