Many people donate sperm to help women or couples who cannot conceive naturally. Many see it as an opportunity to give back and provide a service for someone. Many others simply need money and donate for financial reasons.
But what happens if you get contacted by your offspring years later? It could be awkward or really wonderful... or really horrible. Is there any in between?
People who donated sperm—and their kids—shared their stories with us after Redditor fulpwned asked the online community:
"Men who have sold/donated sperm and gave permission for the child to contact you at 18, what is your story?"
"So my bio-dad..."
"So, I'm not the dad, but a kid."
"So my bio-dad donated sperm and gave permission to be identified. Didn't even have to be after 18. In counting (because we're not sure if we've found all of us yet) there are 53 half-siblings, all his kids. My full sister and I didn't know we were donor babies until I was a freshman in college, and her a junior in high school."
"It was a few more years before we found out the scope of our family. As such, I never got to meet the man as he passed away in 2018, but I've been getting to know my half siblings and I'm sad to have missed him. He apparently engaged in annual reunions and was interested in getting to know all of the kids if they (and their families) were open to it."
"We all support each other basically by default even though we didn't grow up together."
"What's even wilder about him is that he got national news coverage for something besides his giant flock of kids. The guy got married to a woman the day he met her as a competition to be his bride in the Mall of America. It was apparently a heartfelt story and the two of them had a 20 something year marriage with 4 kids that they raised themselves."
"The Mall of America even has a plaque with his name on it now, so you can go find him if you really try. The man was a weirdo, but in the best way. He was kind and generous with his time and really seemed to care about *all* of his kids, or at least the ones he knew about."
I remember learning about the story of "married at first sight" at the Mall of America! How cool!
"I'm not a donor..."
"Oh hey, I can answer this! I'm not a donor, but I was donor conceived, along with my sister (same donor). I had a great dad and never had any desire to find out who my donor was, but I was always curious about siblings, especially when I learned there's no legal limit on how many children you can father when you donate sperm in the US."
"Well, one 23andMe test later, and the first result on the top of the list is a half sister in Texas. We get in contact, realize we have a TON in common, and it sparked a fire in her to find more siblings. She took an Ancestry DNA test and the top of that list was a man in California, listed as father."
"She got in touch with him right away, turns out he's a fantastic guy. He was adopted himself and also got in contact with his birth mom as an adult, so he had been on our side of the situation and was very open and willing to talk. His wife has been super supportive of us meeting too."
"He has three, uh, organically made kids of his own (I was especially ecstatic to learn that I'm a big sister), plus we've since found three more half siblings who've all been very cool and excited to find each other. At this point, I've met all but one of them in person, and I got to meet my biological grandmother too."
"A guy I know..."
"A guy I know in his 70s got a call from a guy in his 50s saying, "Hey, I'm your son, oh and I just learned I have a genetic disease so your other kids should probably get tested."
Credit to the guy in his 50s if that's the reason he called, just to warn his bio dad's family. Class move.
"I did call..."
"I donated for six months in university. Twice a week. I gave consent to be contacted. That was close to 20 years ago now. I did call and ask once, my sperm resulted in 24 successful pregnancies. That was all the office could tell me."
"I have not done 23andme or anything like that."
"They don't refer to him..."
"My aunts had to get a donor for both children, and he happened to live in the same neighborhood (can't remember if that was a coincidence or not). But he is a close family friend now! He comes over for their birthdays and other family events. They don't refer to him as their dad really, only as a joke, but he is very close with our family."
This is a heartwarming story. Sounds like it all worked out.
"My younger bro donated multiple times unbeknownst to me. Years later my wife and I did Ancestry.com to get an idea of how diverse our backgrounds were and wham! Started getting contacted by lots of people (over a dozen) saying we were close relatives."
"At first I was confused and asked the early ones about their parentage - they all had a similar stories. Single mom went to a sperm bank. Didn't take long to guess what happened. Call my brothers and asked. Younger one fessed up and said yes - he went multiple times."
"In fact they told him he had to stop donating because there was a statistical probability his progeny could meet and date (at least they seemed ethical). I asked if it was okay if I gave them his contact - he was fine with it. The weird thing is that they all had his face - like one look at them and it was obvious who their father was."
"Anyway, this went on for a couple of years and they all connected with each other. Seems there are over 20 now, probably more. He has met a couple of them but it was all casual. The whole thing is super weird to the rest of family to have all these "close" relatives who somehow are part of the family but then again not really."
I want to be a fly on the wall at this person’s Thanksgiving.
"It was quite a shock."
"I was donor-conceived. I took a DNA test, his natural-born daughter took a DNA test. So really neither of us 'gave permission'. There are 28 siblings so far. It was quite a shock. I wasn't expecting it and didn't know. I was 38."
"I've met the donor and most of the half siblings. He's a cool guy. I think it is eerie how I see many of my mannerisms in him and the other siblings. I know there is a wide range of emotions for people who experience this sort of thing, but for me it was generally positive."
It is truly incredible how similarities are passed down!
"My step-mom was an early donation conceived baby. She's done 23 & Me and Ancestry. Last I heard she was up to 23 (!!) half-siblings. Their donor father died in the late 1980s and seems to have been a good man."
This is lovely!
"At my job..."
"At my job we did a media interview with a guy who donated sperm at least once a month for the money throughout most of his 20s, nearly 10 years. He recently found out that there is a facebook group with over 100 women from all over the world that have had children from his donated sperm..."
Wow! This is worth checking out.
Whether you want or don't want to get to know the sperm donor is a personal decision that should not be taken lightly. Take care however you choose to proceed.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below!
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