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Quebec looking to limit sperm donations per donor after 3 men from same family father hundreds of children

Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau gives an update on respiratory viruses at a news conference Thursday, February 2, 2023 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau gives an update on respiratory viruses at a news conference Thursday, February 2, 2023 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
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Quebec is looking at tightening the regulations around sperm donation in the province following the release of a documentary that revealed three men from the same family fathered hundreds of children.

The series by Noovo Info, called "Pere 100 enfants," showed that the trio served as sperm donors for women across Quebec who turned to the internet to try to get pregnant.

Quebec's public health director, Dr. Luc Boileau, said in an interview with Noovo Info on Monday that he was "shocked" by the documentary. He said he would like to minimize the risks of artificial insemination by setting a maximum number of donations per donor, which other countries have already done, including France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

According to the documentary by journalists Marie-Christine Bergeron and Maxime Landry, the three Quebec men fathered at least 600 children. Two of the  donors also carry a rare hereditary genetic disorder affecting the liver that could be passed down to the children.

"On the Canadian scene, no one saw this coming either. This is a new situation," Boileau said, adding that he is in talks with his counterparts at Health Canada to examine setting new limits for donors.

Boileau also said public health is looking into how it can inform the mothers involved, as well as their children so that they're aware they are genetically linked to hundreds of half-brothers and half-sisters "to reduce the risk of inbreeding."

Fathering hundreds of children a 'public health issue': Dubé

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé reacted to the Noovo's reporting on Tuesday, saying the documentary reveals a "public health issue."

"I think it's especially worrying for parents who have used the procreation service, to know: 'Could my boy or girl be in contact with one of the other children?' That's what's worrying in terms of public health," he told a press scrum at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The minister says he will meet with Boileau on Wednesday to see what can be done. "We're going to find solutions," said Dubé, evoking the idea of a "regulatory response."

Opposition parties also called on the CAQ government to put an end to what the Quebec Liberal Party described as the "Wild West" of sperm donation.

With files from Noovo Info and The Canadian Press

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