‘The Man With 1000 Kids’ Review: An Outstanding Documentary About A Dutch Youtuber

As stated in many of my previous articles, apart from the reality television genre, Netflix has made great forays into the world of documentaries. The streaming giant has churned out countless documentary films, series, and anthologies, some of which are among the best content out there in the OTT world. Netflix India’s original The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth is an excellent example of how a real-life story can be put forward for people to understand and judge. The Man with 1000 Kids is a Dutch Netflix original documentary series that talks about a man who has donated his sperm to many women across the world, making him the father to those countless children. The documentary series was released on July 3, 2024, and is directed by Josh Allott.

Advertisement

The three-part documentary, with each episode lasting forty minutes, is all about Jonathan Jacob Meijer, a Dutch YouTuber and musician who approached several women in Holland after they showed interest in having kids using him as a sperm donor. It included two gay couples, a husband and wife, and many single women. Initially, the women were not keen on going through a sperm bank because of the amount of time it takes to get a sperm donor assigned in Holland. Jonathan was found registered as a donor on the website “Desire for a Child”, which was meant for people who wanted to know the person donating. Jonathan is the perfect-looking candidate who documents his travel experience on his YouTube channel. Initially, he claimed he wanted to help only five families as a sperm donor, but stories shared by countless women in Holland revealed Jonathan is their sperm donor. This meant Jonathan is the biological father of many children, which is the breach of regulations set by the sperm bank in the country. 

Jonathan’s sperm donation was not restricted to Holland. There are women from Australia who are also horrified to know Jonathan’s prolific donation style. Everyone associated with it wants an end to this ordeal as Jonathan went too far ahead. Are there laws that could stop Jonathan from doing what he was doing? Will the women approach the court to make Jonathan seem like a nuisance to public health? Many such questions are answered as the three-part documentary chronicles the steps taken by the mothers to corner Jonathan. Kudos to Netflix for having brought up this subject because, as stated by one of the speakers in the documentary, there are no strict regulations set in this 5-billion-dollar industry, which is thriving in every part of the world. The truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and it is shocking to know Jonathan walked around without any liability for his actions. It was the women who had to step up and make decisions for themselves and the children they bore and raised.

Advertisement

The most interesting part of the documentary is how they managed to keep it engaging. The makers have gone above and beyond to make sure the three-part series remains interesting till the end. Since the story of Jonathan is not known to many around the world, the makers had to make sure the audiences watching this documentary remained hooked on it. The media did the job of exposing the fraud of Jonathan; this documentary will further spread the news about him, and his apparent unapologetic God complex. The documentary does a good job of talking about an area of concern that not many makers have picked up. When you watch this documentary series, one gets to know how crowded the sperm donor market is, and it makes you wonder if there are mass sperm donors like him. Sadly, the makers don’t go into the financial incentives involved in sperm donation. Jonathan can fund his travels only because of the money he might be receiving from donating his bodily fluids. It also makes us wonder why the victims of such scams are usually women. Do these men come to think of female sex as naïve, gullible, and desperate? These kinds of questions are not raised. In the past many years, there have been many documentary series that involve fraud of a personal nature. The victims are usually women, and they end up losing a lot of money as a consequence.

The documentary also indicated the fact that the white population is slightly privileged, and the concerns discussed come across as very first-world problems. I am not sure how many Asian women would be able to relate to this kind of issue concerning childbirth and pregnancy. The problematic part of the show must be its titillating nature of dialogue. There’s a lot of focus on the children, who are essentially half-siblings and could eventually become attracted to each other as they grow up. These kinds of conversations are of a sexual nature, and the children are too young to understand any of them. The makers of the show also did not expand on what happened to Leon, who committed many unspeakable horrors in the name of sperm donation. There is also a mental health angle that the makers did not explore. There is also mention of Jonathan, who may have been a narcissist, but beyond that, there is nothing discussed. There are some awful sister-wife jokes made by the women, and they were in bad taste.

Advertisement

The direction of the show is top-class, especially in the third episode, which is mostly about exposing Jonathan. The makers did a tremendous amount of detailed research and presented the documentary in such a way that we would wonder if people like Jonathan do exist and are indeed a threat to society. Now that there’s been enough discussion on sperm donation and donors who are willing to offer their bodily fluids, why aren’t couples or single mothers opting for adoption? If they are concerned about Jonathan repopulating the world, they could have chosen to adopt instead. The Man with 1000 Kids is essentially a cautionary tale of how people are good at manipulating a larger population and remain under the impression they can get away with it just by finding a loophole in the system. The documentary series is a very good watch. 


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

Latest articles