Most of the issues I’ve discussed have concerned families of four to twenty children. But David Gollancz has a new concern of his own: That he may have as many as 599 siblings. Gollancz is one of many children born mostly likely with thanks to sperm donations by Austrian scientist and fertility clinic owner Bertold Weisner.
Weisner operated a fertility clinic in London with his wife, Mary Barton back in the 1940s. During this time, 1500 babies were conceived through sperm donations at this clinic. It’s believed that up to two-thirds of the donations were by Weisner. According to The Huffington Post, Weisner was one of only a few learned men whose sperm were given out to families trying to conceive throught the Barton Clinic. This was an attempt to pass along “intelligent genes” to future generations.
Donating limitlessly is no longer permitted due to the fear that half-siblings may procreate, causing children to be born with birth defects, diseases, or other unwanted genetic conditions. In 1990 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act set regulations for fertility clinics to only allow donors to provide enough sperm to help ten families develop. But in the U.S., there are still no set laws, although sperm banks and clinics can set their own regulations for donor anonymity and number of babies conceived per donor.