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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Immaculate Deception: Seriously, ANOTHER gross fertility doctor?!

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

Fertility doctor Jan Karbaat was renowned for getting amazing results. Women who were desperate for children would visit him at his Rotterdam clinic and leave pregnant. But when the clinic closed, rumours began about the methods Karbaat used to achieve his success. The children conceived at the clinic - the Karbaat Kids - began asking difficult questions about what happened to their mothers. What happened in Dr Karbaat’s clinic? From Somethin’ Else, The Immaculate Deception is a story about a doctor who was determined to create life - by any means possible. Reported and hosted by Jenny Kleeman.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

The Clinic


Investigative reporting


Jenny Kleeman

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:

Given the topic, best for adults.

Approximate length of episodes:

30 minutes

Curricular ties:


Similar recommended pods:

Creepily enough, this is not the first podcast to cover this topic. Sick is about a different doctor who did the same thing. For other terrible doctors, see Dr. Death (Season 1 & Season 2) and Bad Batch.

Podcast Librarian’s Review:

It’s been an interesting few years for podcasts about bad doctors, as evidenced by Dr. Death, Bad Batch, and Sick. When I listened to Sick, it was pretty shocking to hear about a fertility doctor who secretly used his own *ahem* “specimen” to impregnate his patients. It’s sick and twisted but an isolated incident, right?

Turns out, that was just one of many fertility doctors who "donated" their own sperm to increase their patients’ chances of pregnancy in the 80s and 90s--without the patients' knowledge. Like Sick, Immaculate Deception is about a different doctor who used the same method at his practice in the Netherlands. The series also discusses how there are at least 30 (!!!) fertility doctors who were revealed to have engaged in these gross, unethical tactics. What these doctors never predicted, though, is that genetic testing like Ancestry and 23andMe would blow the lid off the scheme decades later. This series is well-researched and investigates the case of Dr. Karbaaat, as well as similar cases around the globe. It does a good job of consulting experts and the doctors’ biological children who have found out this part of their history only recently. It was a compelling listen, but I hope for everyone's sake that there aren't too many more of these shady fertility doctors coming out of the woodwork.

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