How did this man come to 'father' 600 children?!

Ok, this is absolutely crazy, but check it out: it has been discovered that about 600 babies were conceived using the sperm of a Bertold Wiesner, a British man who founded a fertility clinic in London in the 1940s. It was originally thought that the clinic selected a few highly intelligent friends as sperm donors to help women conceive 1,500 babies. But two men conceived through these donations have researched the clinic and say DNA tests suggest Wiesner donated two thirds of the sperm.

Although this practice is now prohibited, back then nobody knew Wiesner was doing it. Since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act passed in Britain in 1990, a sperm or egg donor can provide samples for the creation of up to ten families. This allows for parents to choose the same donor for a second or third sibling. 


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While I thought it was nuts when I first heard about this, I didn't realize the real implications of something like this include a higher risk of two of the offspring unwittingly meeting and starting their own family. This could create all kinds of genetic problems in their own children. Can you imagine?

During the time the clinic was in operation, Wiesner's wife claimed they helped many of the upper classes and even some 'peer of the realm' to conceive. Unfortunately, she later destroyed medical records which means that most of those conceived there have no idea about their true family history.  

Meanwhile, the two men who started the investigation into the clinic and who are Wiesner's biological children say they've made contact with 10 of his other half siblings. "Meeting the half siblings that I have tracked down has been a very life-enriching experience. This does make it frustrating too, because I know there are all those other siblings out there who I don't know but would really like to meet. I'd love to be able to hire a huge marquee and invite them all to a party," said David Gollancz, a London lawyer.

Pretty crazy, right?

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