In a farm house in north-western Germany, heated by a lively fire in a wood-burning stove, a bulky and bespectacled Dutchman – he freely admits he is a bit on the heavy side – makes his way upstairs to the baby’s room.
Ed Houben has come to see his daughter for the first time.
He talks gently to the six-week-old baby, and little Madita looks up at him. She is, he says, his 98th child.
“I am single. I have long wanted to have a child but I could never find the right man”
Kati; Mr Houben is a “charitable sperm donor”. He helps lesbian couples, single women and heterosexual couples with fertility problems to have children free of charge.
He started out in 2002 donating sperm to a sperm bank.
But his sperm donating career (he has a day job, by the way, as a tour guide) really hit its stride when the Netherlands, like many other European countries and Canada, banned anonymous sperm donation and he started offering his services for free on the internet.