Flemish triplets have two different fathers

For the first time in Belgium a set of triplets has discovered that they have two different fathers. The triplets were born 37 years ago after their mother had been given fertility treatment. The news appears in Saturday’s edition of the daily ‘De Standaard’. The triplets’ parents were unaware that sperm samples from two different donors were used in the IVF treatment.

The Leuven University genealogist Jean-Jacques Cassiman told the paper that "In the 1960’s and 70’s sperm cells were put into the uterus in the hope that the woman would become pregnant. I can imagine that back then they wanted to give would-be parents greater guarantees that the treatment would work. Consequently the sperm of various donors was used”.

Dr Cassiman is keen to stress that the IVF technology used today is completely different to the techniques used back then. Today, a single sperm cell can be inserted into an ovum.

"Scrap anonymous sperm donations"

Dr Cassiman calls for the abolition of a sperm donor’s right to anonymity. This would mean that children would always have the opportunity to trace their biological parents if the so wished. The triplets share this view.

One of them told the paper that "Being a donor should be something beautiful. The issue here is that it has become an industry that is only interest in fulfilling adults’ desires to become parents. There don’t reflect on the effect it has on the children”.

"What we have discovered is the absurd icing on the cake”.

"As I children I thought that I’d been swapped”

The triplets aren’t unique. A number of similar cases have come to light abroad. The Flemish triplets are made up or two women and a man. One of the women is blond and the other dark. They also have completely different builds.

“As I child I thought that I’d been swapped at birth”, one of the sisters told ‘De Standaard’.