British sperm donor fathered as many as 600 children

From the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Mary)


A pioneering British scientist who set up a controversial London fertility clinic with his wife in the 1940s may have fathered up to 600 children, according to research from two men who have discovered they are his biological sons.

Barry Stevens, a documentary film-maker from Canada, and David Gollancz, a London-based barrister, say that on the basis of recent DNA tests Dr. Bertold Wiesner made up to two-thirds of the clinic’s total sperm donations.

In 2007, DNA tests on 18 people who had been conceived at the clinic between 1943 and 1962 showed that 12 of the group — two-thirds — were Wiesner’s children, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

Using these results, Stevens and Gollancz believe that Wiesner, who died in 1972, must have fathered as many as 600 children.

“A conservative estimate is that he would have been making 20 donations a year,” Gollancz said.

“Using standard figures for the number of live births which result, including allowances for twins and miscarriages, I estimate that he is responsible for between 300 and 600 children.”

Imagine what would happen if a boy and a girl conceived by this nut decided to have children together. Sick.

31 thoughts on “British sperm donor fathered as many as 600 children”

  1. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first to be found out. I can remember at least another two cases at least 10 years ago (may have been longer). As you say, you could have brother and sister marrying each other without realising it and any genetic defects have twice the chance of being passed on.

  2. “Imagine what would happen if a boy and a girl conceived by this nut decided to have children together. Sick.”

    That’s definitely a scary thought, but I’m getting the idea that you have more issues with sperm donation than this. Care to share?

    1. I don’t like the idea that a woman decides to pursue her own happiness at the expense of her own child’s right to a relationship with his or her biological father. You do not execute a plan that guarantees that your child will be fatherless. That is child abuse, plain and simple:


      Child poverty:

      Child abuse/child neglect:

      And it costs society BILLIONS to support this:

      1. Don’t make judgements when you don’t know what’s going on. Most women who have Artificial Insemination by Donna are married women whose husbands for a variety of medical reasons can’t give them children. i know at least one couple where the husband had test after test. it is not child abuse. The donner’s are not supposed to donate more than enough for five children altogether. Both the husband and wife make the decision.

        1. I think WK is talking about women who reach *a certain age*, are unmarried and deliberately choose to have a baby via an anonymous sperm donor, thus intentionally depriving the resulting child of a relationship with his/her biological father. THAT is a form of child abuse. Infertility affecting a married couple who then use IVF, has different ethical implications but is not the same thing.

          1. Yes, that’s what I meant, ScotCat. And thank you for saying so and clearing things up. I appreciate you trying to make sense of what I was meaning to say in the best possible light.

          2. I am not talking IVF. To have that the husband has to have good sperm. Quite a few men can’t give children to their wives, although everyone always blames the woman. AID is Artificial Insemination by Doner. Many couples use this method when the husband can’t provide viable sperm.

  3. There is wide range of ethicial, social, psychological problems involved with the practice no matter who uses it, including married heterosexuals. If you are interested in learning more you should watch this film “Anonymous Father’s Day” (Barry Stevens, the man mentioned in this article, was also a part of this film)

    1. Right! Since when is a married couple *entitled* to have a child such that they can *purposely* subject a child to not knowing who else they may be related to or who their biological father is? I am so tired of adults with a sense of entitlement when it comes to children…

      1. It’s more than just a open/honest/identity disclourse problem. This is pretty huge actually. Read this:

        “That’s how it plays out in Gattaca –a sweet, young, married couple’s first child was born with a heart defect. They find themselves in the doctor’s office being offered all sorts of enhancements and options for making their next baby. They seem hesitant and even tell the doctor they want to leave “some things to chance,” but the doctor reminds them how important it is to give their child the best advantage right from the very beginning. And what good parent doesn’t want the “best” for their child?

        It’s chilling just to type this essay. Babies without s*x? It seems that is where we are headed, like it or not. Or should I say, know it or not. We aren’t in the driver’s seat, it appears, but we’re being taken for a very dangerous ride without our consent or even our knowledge.”

        1. My friend had AID because the HUSBAND COULD NOT PRODUCE CHILDREN in any shape or form. They would have been quite happy to have a child of their own, even if it did have some defect. The child is happy, married with children, born in the normal way. Do carry on with your judgements. All of you don’t want kids aborted, neither do I, but it’s wrong doing the other thing to. You are all a load of judgemental hypocrits. It is people like you that turn people against Christianity. TTL the Lord most Christians I know in my church and elsewhere don’t put themselves in the place of God.

          1. You have no idea what you are talking about. AID is intentional preconception child selling and abandonment. If an AID person expresses a loss or thinks this practice is simply unethical (which it is) then they are judged, silenced, discriminated against. It is a transferal of loss and it is an unjust practice. You sound like the hypocrite but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are simply not educated about all the problems involved.

          2. I know a heck of a lot more about it than you do. Perhaps you’d like a woman whose husband can’t give her children to do it as they used to in the OT. Sleep with a male member of her husbands family to get pregnant.

      2. I love the judgemental element on this page. The child concerned with my friends is quite happy with the situation and does not consider it abuse. I presume you are able to have children, aren’t you lucky.

        1. Pat wrote: “I know a heck of a lot more about it than you do” I can absolutely assure you that do NOT know more about this subject than I do. But I am going to just let it rest at that. This isn’t a contest.

          1. I helped my friend research this before she went for it. I am also a SRN and once this started researched it a lot more, but of course, as I don’t agree with you I’m stupid, you know everything.

          2. Pat wrote: “I’m stupid, you know everything.” I did not say that. But I do think there are serious problems involved with the practice as a whole that goes beyond a regulation issue that is often ignored for politically correct reasons. I wish your friend and her family well.

    1. That is why sperm is supposed to come from a cental sperm bank, with no donor giving more that, I think, five donations and they are recorded.

      It can also happen with adoptions. A young friend many years ago who was adopted, couldn’t say who her father was and this caused problems when she got married. Her soon to be husband’s parents had to write a letter saying that neither of them had had children who had been adopted.

      1. Pat what country do you live in? If you are from the United States you should know that there is no “cental (central?) sperm bank” and no enforcements as to how many times a person can “donate” (sell) their gametes. That’s why we are hearing so many stories of huge groups of offspring from the same “donor” from the Donor Sibling Registry. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, adoptees have no legal “right” to know their siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. with the exception of only a very few states that allow adoptees to see their original birth certificates at 18. (they should have an ethical right) BUT the intentional creation of ppl with these intentional disconnects via sperm/egg “donation” (selling) to fulfill the wants of others is a very different ethical problem from those given up for adoption who were not intentionally created with disconnects to fulfill the needs of others. Adoption is a child centric institution, “donation” (gamete selling) is an adult centric institution. This is not a just or ethical practice.

        1. And in the case of adoption, case workers do all they can to try to place a child with a bio/genetic family member before they resort to trying to place the child with homestudied, stable, non/bio genetic family. Again, adoption is child centric. Gamete “donation” (selling) is adult centric. All you need is a credit card. No home studies required. A pychopath could qualify. There is NO regulation, no checks/balances, no homestudies, no way to track how many times a “donor” “donates” (sells), no way to track the number of half siblings – everything about this practice should make EVERY ONE very, very, very uncomfortable. Again, this is only the tip of the ethical problems involved with this practice. Good for society as a whole? Absolutely not.

          1. Then she might appreciate this piece of writing by Joanna Rose, the “donor conceived” woman who’s legal efforts helped to end anonymity in the UK. Dr. Joanna Rose’s thesis:
            “Rose, Joanna (2009) A critical analysis of sperm donation practices : the personal and social effects of disrupting the unity of biological and social relatedness for the offspring. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.”

        2. I live in Ukraine, but the person I’m talking about lives in UK. Yes the case that was publicised was in UK, but the doctor cooked the books to make it legal.

          I just hope that when and if you’re married your husband can give you children, after all that was what God intended marriage for. That is what everyone criticises gay marriage for, that Gay people can’t have children, not that I agree with Gay marriage.

          1. This is should not be about the wants/desires of adults. The needs of the potential children PRECONCEPTION should always come first. This is where the sympathy should be focused. Learn from what we, the ‘donor’ conceived, are trying our hardest (shouting into the wind) to tell society….is anybody listening?
            Read “My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor”

          2. Pat wrote: “I just hope that when and if you’re married your husband can give you children…”


            “56 Voices of Donor Conception (Vol. 1) © Mikki Morrissette
            What If We Were Infertile?
            I ask myself often, if my husband was infertile, what would we do?
            I always imagined myself as a mother. I knew that I wanted to have children ‘of my own’ someday. I wanted to have babies that shared my biology and pour myself into their nurturing and well being. I wanted to feel them kicking inside of me, inhale them and know that they were ‘mine.’ This must be a primal instinct.

            The pain of infertility must be overwhelming. My mother must have had this same need…instinct….that I do. She married a man that she loved more than anything in her world. He adored her and she him.
            But the two of them could not physically produce the one thing she instinctually wanted—a baby of ‘their own.’
            I wonder if men have the same need and instinct as women do? I wonder how my Dad felt when he found out that the reason they hadn’t conceived was because he couldn’t produce sperm. They must have mourned deeply for the children they could not create together.
            He loved my mother immensely and would have done
            anything for her. Together, they found a doctor who
            was willing to do something that no one else in the
            area was willing or pioneering enough to do—artificial
            insemination by anonymous sperm.
            The advice of the day was secrecy, so that everyone, including the child, would accept each other without prejudice or discrimination.

            So I question again, what would we do? If I wasn’t donor conceived myself, and didn’t have the benefit of knowing how this has affected my parents and me, my husband and I might do the most convenient thing: buy or borrow another man’s sperm.
            But I know from my personal experience how difficult this choice is, not only for the child, but for the parents, the donor, the donor’s extended social family. Even open donations might create and/or lead to conflicts of loyalty, identity and belonging. Although the inability to have a genetic child of my own would create deep sadness, I know in my heart that donor conception is just not something that we could do.”

          3. A child isn’t a right-what you have is a privilege because you’re rich and someone else is poor -surrogate/donor.

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