Stars of Netflix's The Man With 1000 Kids share ‘real panic’ over incest fears

John and Joyce are among the parents who speak out in the docuseries

Joyce and John pictured on their wedding day as seen in the documentary series.
Joyce and John pictured on their wedding day as seen in the documentary series. (Netflix)

Netflix's The Man With 1000 Kids stars have shared their fears of incest in the first episode of the docuseries, with one couple saying: "That's when we saw the real danger of this."

The sperm donor scandal plays out in shocking Netflix documentary series The Man With 1000 Kids. Jonathan Meijer, who has been a sperm donor for 17 years, was initially banned from donating his sperm to fertility clinics in the Netherlands in 2017 after it come to light he had more than 100 children.

Last year, it then emerged Meijer had fathered up to 600 children by donating his sperm all over the world and a Dutch court has ordered him to stop donating to new parents. The judge ruled Meijer would be fined €100,000 (about £84,648) per donation if he continued.

Married couple Joyce and John are among the couples who trusted Meijer, who then turned out to be a sperm donor to hundreds of other children across the world. They invited the cameras into their home to tell their side of the story to Netflix, alongside other parents.

John had a vasectomy after having three children with his first wife, only then to marry for a second time. In marrying a younger woman who wanted to have children, he was keen to start a family with her. When doctors told him reversing a vasectomy was impossible, the couple decided to get a sperm donor.

In the first episode, the parents shared their "real panic" and "real danger" at discovering the man who had donated his sperm to them had so many other children.

Read: Who is Jonathan Meijer? The person behind The Man with 1000 Kids on Netflix (Business Insider, 2-min read)

John and Joyce pictured from The Man With 1000 kids
John and Joyce pictured from The Man With 1000 kids. (Netflix)

John said: "There was also the story about the three children in the same area, at the same school."

He went on: "We thought, 'Oh f*** what if these children meet each other and maybe have a connection or fall in love and they don't know they are related.' That's when the real panic started. That's when we saw the real danger of this."

Joyce admitted she become "obsessed" with wanting to know who Jonathan's other kids were. She said: "Maybe there is another child in your street, every blond kid. I was like, is this Jonathan's kids? i was obsessed with it."

Elsewhere in the episode, Dr Max Curfs - who is a clinical embryologist at Isala Fertility Centre - explained donors are only able to father 25 children in the Netherlands because of the risk of consanguinity (incest). The clinical embryologist said there is a written agreement where a donor cannot be active at other clinics or be a donor privately when donating sperm to Isala Fertility Centre.

Dr Curfs said he found it "hard to believe" at first when he was informed about a sperm donor who had deceived them. He said: "I was shocked, really shocked." The clinical embryologist said it was understandable that patients too were "shocked", "angry", "sad" and "crying" when informed about what had happened.

He added: "The reason we have a guideline that the sperm donor could not have more children than 25 is to reduce the risk of consanguinity, that's half siblings who are not aware they are half siblings that are attracted to each other and have children together."

. Jonathan Jacob Meijer
. Jonathan Jacob Meijer didn't take part in the documentary. (Netflix)

Netflix said Meijer had declined to comment for their docuseries. The streaming giant include footage from Meijer's YouTube channels where he would film videos all over the world.

While he didn't comment in the Netflix show, Meijer has since spoken out. The former sperm donor claimed the documentary was "misleading" in an interview with BBC's Women's Hour.

"They deliberately called [the documentary] The Man With 1,000 Kids, when it should be 'the sperm donor who helped families conceive with 550 children'," he told the programme. "So already from the start they are deliberately deceiving and misleading."

Meijer said he had stopped donating to new families in 2019 and only continued to donate for siblings of existing families had helped. The YouTuber explained why he didn't see any problem with donating to so many women.

He said: "I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I think it's very good. I see that they [the children] have many friends, they meet with each other. And I cannot speak for them, but from what I've seen, they are very happy that they have so many siblings. Because they [the half-siblings] meet on donor days, they meet with each other and go on holiday together."