British doctor may have fathered more than 600 children


A British doctor may have fathered more than 600 children by using his own sperm in his London fertility clinic. Toronto film-maker Barry Stevens has researched records of women treated by Dr Bertold Wiesner, and found that two-thirds of offspring conceived through the clinic were his children. Estimates of how many children he fathered range from 200 to 1,000.

Dr Wiesner and his wife Mary Barton ran their clinic from the early 1940s until the mid-1960s, offering sperm from intelligent stock to the spouses of infertile middle and upper-class men. Their work was notorious at the time – so much so that it was once denounced in the House of Lords as “the work of Beelzebub”.

Dr Barton told a 1959 government forum on artificial insemination: “I matched race, colouring and stature and all donors were drawn from intelligent stock. I wouldn’t take a donor unless he was, if anything, a little above average. If you are going to do it [create a child] deliberately, you have got to put the standards rather higher than normal.”

At the time it was thought that the sperm came from several of Dr Wiesner’s contacts, but it now seems that he supplied it when there was a shortage. It was already known that one of the donors, Derek Richter, a neuro-chemist, had fathered more than 100 of the clinic's children.

Mrs Barton later destroyed many of the medical records, meaning most of those conceived there have no idea of their true family history and blood ties.

One of the men who discovered that Dr Wiesner was his biological father, David Gollancz, told the Daily Mail, that he opposed sperm donor anonymity and wanted to see the name of sperm or egg donors placed on birth certificates. “Most recipient parents don’t tell their children they are conceived this way, meaning they would never know to search for a donor father. People have a right to know about their own history,” he said. ~ UK Telegraph, Apr 8

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