Two strangers have revealed their disbelief at finding out they were half siblings, after a doctor at the IVF clinic their parents went to swapped the
Two strangers have revealed their disbelief at finding out they were half siblings, after a doctor at the IVF clinic their parents went to swapped their father’s sperm for his own.
Inge Herlaar and Joey Hoofdman, from Holland, appeared on This Morning to explain how the made the shocking discovery.
Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017 at the age of 89, used his own sperm while working at a fertility clinic in Rotterdam. It is believed over time he helped 6,000 women have over 10,000 children, and it remains unclear how many children are biologically his.
Defence for Children, an organisation representing parents and children born through his now-closed clinic, said DNA tests conducted at the beginning of April confirmed 49 children in the case are direct descendants of Karbaat.
Half-siblings Joey Hoofdman and Inge Herlaar (pictured left and right) revealed on This Morning how they felt after making the the ‘mind-blowing’ discovery that they were fathered by their parents’ IVF doctor, Jan Karbatt, who used his own sperm to impregnate women at his clinic in Rotterdam
Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017, used his own sperm at the fertility clinic in Rotterdam. It is unclear how many people he has fathered but it’s estimated he helped around 6,000 women get pregnant during his time at the IVF clinic
Likeness: While researching the IVF clinic his parents used, Joey Hoofdman came across a photograph of Dr Karbatt and was left stunned by the likeness between himself and the fertility expert (Pictured: Joey on the left, Jan on the right)
The half-siblings told a stunned Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield how they discovered they shared a biological father.
Joey, 39, said he grew up knowing there was something separating him from his family.
He moved out of the family home at age 15, and couldn’t help but notice differences between him and his father.
Joey was determined to find out the truth behind his parentage, and said that his curiosity was further sparked when he began to plan his own future.
He said: ‘When I met my husband, the doubt became bigger, because he looks like his dad.’
‘The first thing was the similarities between my husband and his dad. 11 years ago, the doubt became bigger and bigger.’
Once he found out the name of the clinic, he began researching the clinic and the doctor involvement in his mother’s IVF experience.
He found a picture of Karbaat, and sent it to friends and family, who couldn’t help but see the similarities between the two.
Joey revealed that he even asked his husband to have a DNA test, to ensure the two were not related, after finding out about his own biological heritage
Meanwhile, Inge was facing a similar search and was suspicious because her father was so tall – while she and her siblings were all short.
Their humour also differed from their parents, leaving them wondering where it could have come from.
She said: ‘It started as a joke, but it got bigger and bigger and bigger. Our questions got stronger and asking around.’
Two years ago, she saw an advert for a DNA test on television and all was revealed. Joey took a similar test, and the pair were matched together.
Inge became suspicious as she and her siblings weren’t similar in appearance to their father – and revealed she took a DNA test after seeing an advert on television
The controversial case became public after a Dutch court ruled in February that the results of Karbaat’s DNA test should be made available to parents and children to conduct their own comparisons.
Before his death, aged 89, Karbaat reportedly admitted to having fathered about 60 children in his time at the discredited clinic which closed in 2009 amid reports of irregularities.
Karbaat later also admitted to mixing sperm from various donors and issuing fraudulent donor documentation, the Dutch daily newspaper NRC reported.
The pair called the discovery about their doctor dad ‘mind blowing’ and revealed they had been left with the burden of wondering how many thousands of siblings they could have
Pictured: parents and donor children reacting to news in February that they would be given the results of Karbaat’s DNA test so they could conduct their own comparisons
HOW DOES IVF WORK?
The menstrual cycle is first suppressed with medication before other drugs are used to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual.
An ultrasound scan is carried out to check the development of the eggs, and medication is used to help them mature.
The eggs are then collected by a needle inserted into the ovaries, via the vagina, before the eggs are fertilised with sperm.
Finally the fertilised embryo is transferred into the womb to grow and develop.
A single IVF cycle has an average success rate of 32.3 per cent for those under 35, dropping to five per cent for women aged 43 and 44 and only 1.9 per cent for those 45 and older.
Despite IVF being most effective for the under 35s, 57 per cent of IVF cycles are undergone by women 35 or older.
They called the discovery ‘mind-blowing’ and revealed: ‘There are so many. We will keep searching, to warn them of the possibility you could match your half brother or sister.’
The siblings have no idea how many others there are out there, and describe it as ‘a burden’.
They revealed:’ You’re constantly aware that you have a lot of half brothers and sisters when you’re meeting somebody.’
Joey told that he felt he had to do a DNA test with his husband, to be sure that the two weren’t half brothers.
But the pair don’t consider Jan a father, with Inge telling Holly and Phil: ‘It takes more to be a dad. We refer to him as a doctor.’
Meanwhile Joey said he is still keen to see some positive from the revelation, and explained: ‘At the beginning I was very angry, emotional. But now I split him from the bad person he did, and I’m still searching for some of the good things maybe he did.’