Men Who Fathered the Most Children

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Procreation has been one of the most important impulses of man since the evolution of the human race. While at the earliest time, it was motivated by the need for survival of the species, eventually it became about enlarging one’s own group and lineage. The dynamics of widespread procreation too have undergone a change from being earlier facilitated by social institutions like polygamy to modern science of sperm donation. Here are some men who have been known to father the maximum number of children.

Ismail ibn Sharif

The man to whom goes the distinction of fathering the maximum number of children is probably the Moroccan ruler Ismail Ibn Sharif, second in line of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty who reigned from 1672 to 1727. Like other members of the dynasty, Moulay Ismail too claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad through his roots to Hassan ibn Ali. Known in his native country as the "Warrior King", Ismail fought the Ottoman Turks and gained respect for Moroccan sovereignty. Today though he is widely known for another reason, that of fathering more than eight hundred children.

Bertold Weiser

Bertold Weiser was a British biologist who operated a fertility clinic since the 1940s. According to media reports2 he may have fathered around 600 children through donation of his sperm to couples who came to his clinic for fertility treatment. Until recently, it was not known that Weiser had been making most of the sperm donations at the clinic that he had founded with his wife Mary Barton and which went on to help nearly 1,500 families conceive children. But two men who were conceived at the center have recently come forward with research and DNA tests that suggest Weisner fathered a multitude of offspring. Barry Stevens a film-maker from Canada and David Gollancz, a barrister in London, went through multitude of records at the center and DNA tests, to come up with the possibility that Mr. Weiser, an Austrian biologist, provided two thirds of the donated sperm. Today, laws in the United Kingdom prohibit men from making bulk donations, in order to eliminate the possibility of two siblings meeting and procreating, according to the report.

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Kirk Maxey

Another instance of bulk sperm donation comes from the United States where unlike as in Britain, there is no law against men donating sperm on a frequent basis at fertility centers. Kirk Maxey, presently a scientist and entrepreneur, was an active sperm donor for the University of Michigan and Michigan IVF during the early 1980s, and over that time, he provided more than 1000 semen samples which was then thought to be used for basic IVF research. In May 2006, Maxey was contacted by two of his biological children from these donations, through their joint registry on the Donor Sibling Registry. Together, they determined that it was mathematically possible that 400 offspring could have been conceived through Kirk Maxey’s sperm donations. Now a doctor, Maxey says he worries about his children inadvertently committing incest, and he's pushing for regulations that let parents and donors know the whereabouts of their possible children.

Ramses II

Though unverified by historical sources, Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II is believed to have fathered 162 children during his life. Often referred to as Ramesses the Great, he was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty and reigned from 1279 BC to 1213 BC.  His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor." since he is regarded as the most celebrated and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. Along with his territorial and architectural exploits, he also expanded his bloodline by fathering a large number of children; it is likely that he had 44–56 sons and 40–44 daughters as they have been depicted on several monuments from his reign.

Minh Mang

He was an emperor of Vietnam, second of the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 1820 until his death in 1841.  As a ruler, Mang was  famous throughout his country for his opposition to French involvement in Vietnam and his rigid Confucian orthodoxy but now on the personal front, he is also known as fathering one of the largest number of children in history, an incredible 142 girls and boys. Because of his large number of children, Mang decided to name his descendants by choosing the Middle name following the words of the Imperial succession poem to avoid confusion.

Winston Blackmore

Winston Blackmore is the former bishop of the Bountiful, British Columbia group of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church), a community located in the Creston Valley. In keeping with FDLS principles, Blackmore has taken multiple wives – the number could be as high as 24 - through whom he is believed to have fathered 121 children3. In 2002, Blackmore was excommunicated by FDLS chief Warren Jeffs. In January 2009 Blackmore and another community leader, James Oler, were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and charged with polygamy. However the charges were thrown out later, owing to questions about how the Crown selected its prosecutors.

Ziona Chana

A villager from the northeast Indian state of Mizoram, Ziona Chana with a family consisting of 181 members is on record for heading the largest family in the world. At 66 years old, Ziona Chana is the proud husband of 39 wives and father to 94 children. Other than these his family also includes 14 daughters-in-law as well as 33 grandchildren. The Chana family lives in a huge mansion consisting of a hundred rooms and spread over four storeys. Not surprisingly the Chana house is the largest in the village and is named ‘Chana That Run’ or in their language, ‘The House of the New Generation’. Luckily for a house of such proportions, all the men in the Chana family work as carpenters. Chana is the head of a religious sect that has four hundred members and allows a man to take as many wives as he pleases.

Genghis Khan

One of the most feared warriors of all times, Genghis Khan is best known for founding the Mongol Empire which after his death became the large contiguous empire in history. However new research into the life of Genghis Khan shows that apart from being one of history’s biggest conquerors, he could well be one of the most prolific lovers of all times. The myth is now borne out by science as well since after analyzing tissue samples in populations bordering Mongolia, scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences believe the brutal ruler has 16 million male descendants living today which is nearly 8% of the population of Central Asia4 . The numbers imply that he must have fathered hundreds, if not thousands, of children and this can be explained only by Genghis Khan's policy of seizing for himself the most beautiful women captured in the course of his merciless conquests. The article in Daily Mail quotes an observation by Ata-Malik Juvaini, who wrote a treatise on the Mongols in 1260. In a reference to the awe-inspiring the legend of Genghis Khan, Juvaini is believed to have written "Of the issue of the race and lineage of Genghis Khan, there are now living in the comfort of wealth and affluence more than 20,000…More than this I will not say ... Lest the readers of this history should accuse the writer of exaggeration and hyperbole and ask how from the loins of one man there could spring in so short a time so great a progeny."

References:

  1. The Telegraph - British man 'fathered 600 children' at own fertility clinic
     
  2. National Geographic Channel - The man with 121 children and 24 wives
     
  3. Mail Online - Genghis Khan: The daddy of all lovers