Gynaecologist accused of fertilising patients with his own sperm

Since last July, more than ninety people have reported to the Nij Geertgen fertility clinic in Elsendorp after it became known that former gynaecologist Henk Ruis had fertilised women with his own sperm. In three cases, a woman became pregnant. Ruis denies that he deliberately fertilised the women.

Most of the people who called Nij Geertgen have been treated by Ruis. That was between 2004 and 2014 when the clinic was called ‘Stichting Geertgen’. Most of the other complainers are now being treated at the clinic in Elsendorp. They don’t have to worry, emphasises the spokesman for Nij Geertgen.

‘Wrong and unacceptable’

“The events took place at the former Geertgen Foundation and under the responsibility of former gynaecologist Henk Ruis. We naturally think it is wrong and unacceptable what happened to the prospective parents at the time. With the contemporary professional design and laboratory of Nij Geertgen, it is impossible that such an incident could ever occur again,” the spokesperson clarifies. She also points to protocols and legislation that should prevent misuse of (donor) seed.

She also says that anyone who has questions can continue to contact us and receive information and guidance. In several cases, people are referred to Fiom in Den Bosch. This is the expertise centre in the field of unwanted pregnancy, related questions and adoption.

Fiom got the ball rolling last year by reporting to Nij Geertgen that there was contact with someone who turned out to be biologically related to Ruis. The bond has been proven by DNA research. Since then, the institution and the clinic have been in contact with each other. Also, Fiom has previously gained experience guiding children conceived at fertility interests with sperm from gynaecologists and doctors.

Special database

Donor children conceived before 1 June 2004 can have their DNA included in Fiom’s KID-DNA database free of charge. After registration in the database, it becomes clear whether the donor child descends from the gynaecologist or another, registered donor. Donor children conceived after this date can apply via the Artificial Fertilization Donor Data Foundation. Fiom cannot find out how many donor children, who think they are descended from Ruis, have requested information from this organisation.

Ruis worked in the 1980s and 1990s at the Liduinaziekenhuis Hospital in Boxtel (now part of the Jeroen Bosch Hospital). Until 2005 he was also active in the then Sint Joseph hospital in Veghel (now part of Bernhoven). Ruis also had his own practice in Gemert and continued it under the name ‘Stichting Geertgen’ in De Mortel and Elsendorp. That company went bankrupt in 2014. The new owners founded the Nij Geertgen clinic in 2014.

Translated: Yawar Abbas

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