Back in 2010, the film The Kids Are All Right made the rounds. It was a bit of a mixed bag, frankly––I had some issues with the storyline, but that would merit an entirely different article––but it was an intriguing watch nonetheless. The story of two children conceived by artificial insemination who bring their biological father into their lives by introducing him to both of their mothers leads to some explosive results. You'd have to see the film for yourself (that script, though) but it did make me pause and think about how successful a relationship between a sperm donor and the child they brought into the world would be. Is it scary? Anxiety-inducing? A relief?
After Redditor lulpwned asked the online community, "Men who sold or donated sperm and gave the permission for the child to contact you at 18: What's your story?" we got to hear and learn more about this experience. Kids––and fathers––shared their stories.
"What's even wilder about him..."
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.
This is heartwarming!
Not to mention ideal.
"She got in touch with him right away..."
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.
"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.
Imagine the day he does!
Thanksgving will prove to be very interesting.
"At one point in my life..."
I'm a child born via sperm donation. At one point in my life, I did tons of research to find him- I also did Ancestry and found some half-siblings but no donor. But I thought about it more and looked over the records I did have (from the donor company). He was a college student at the time and asked not to be contacted. He probably has a family now who may or may not know about his past donation, and my gut feeling is that he did it for the money. So I've decided to let it go.
Is this common?
It's sort of sad, but incredible to read about.
"My dad had a kid..."
Somewhat related, but I've got a brother from another mother and have a happy story to share.
My dad had a kid with a lady in the eighties, she didn't want to keep it and he didn't want to be a single dad so he was put up for adoption and they split up and go about their days. There's likely a lot more to the story but I've only ever been told my dad's side, so I'll leave it at that.
Fast forward ~30 years, my dad has settled down and now has a family of 5 kids with my mom. He gets a call from a non-profit asking if he'd provide his information if his kid wants to reach out. He does and goes about his day.
Fast forward a few months he gets a call from his son, initially wanting to learn about possible health causes and curiosity. He ended up getting adopted by an amazing family and is doing very well for himself. He wants to come to town and meet my dad. Dad has five awkward conversations with his kids explaining we had another brother and he was coming up to visit. (Note, a running insult when we were growing up was calling each other adopted, which pissed dad off a lot lol)
Fast forward 2 weeks, there was graduation this weekend and we're having all the family over, so was a good time for him to come up, and meet the guy. Great person, hit it off, and still is close with all the brothers.
Everything worked out pretty good all things considered. He's a spitting image of dad and really great friend. His parents are amazing people as well. Really really lucky to have him in my life.
Kind of similar. I was approached by my longtime childhood friend and she asked if I would be a donor for her and her wife. I agreed, and they asked if I would be okay with being in their life, to take pictures and be around so the child knows who I am, knows I'm a friend, and also knows I'm the biological donor, etc., so there are no questions down the road. I agreed and it's been awesome so far. He just turned two and he's a tornado (I warned them), but he's loved more than most children will be. Coming from a background in psych I figured developmentally it would be easier to be labeled as a friend, and not an unknown, questions of turmoil of where did I come from, etc. I guess we'll see.
"Four separate offspring..."
I was a donor, and when this happened to me, it was ok. Four separate offspring at various times over the course of about six months contacted me, all just as they turned 18 and records were open to them. It was cool for me to see pictures of them and how much they looked like me. It was also good to hear the stories from their parents of how I helped them conceive a much-needed child, which I really appreciated. But that was all. A few nice, polite emails were exchanged, some kindnesses, and then we stopped emailing. I didn't want or expect more, I'm just glad to know they existed, and that they got to connect with their biological heritage. I supposedly (as far as the donor system estimates) have a lot more out there, but I expect these are the only ones that will contact me since I assume most of them will want to do it as soon as they can and all of my donations happened within an 18-month span.
"Why the hell not."
Mine may seem awkward.... my mum's friends are lesbians. 10 years ago all 3 came to me and asked if I would donate. Why the hell not. Lovely people and desperate to be parents. After the second 'turkey baster' insemination, they got pregnant. They have a beautiful little girl. I went on to have my own 2 daughters and they then came to me 2 years ago and asked again. This time, it was a bigger decision but my partner knew the full story and was more than happy to allow us to try a second time which was again successful! They had a boy this time.
We've spoken extensively and we all have no issue with them knowing I'm the donor. My kids will also know when the time comes. We agreed that we would run off the whole 'I have no input other than biological'. Obviously, we won't be able to stop the whole 'who's my father' but we have agreed that when the time does come, they will be sat down with my own 2 children as well and explained that the situation of I'm not a father to them and that it was purely to allow them to have children and that they aren't missing out by having 2 mums rather than a mum and dad.
It's hard to type out but I'm sure you guys will get it. Thankfully, they look nothing like my own children, which could be awkward considering we live in the same neighbourhood. Also, I have no attachment or need to be anything to these children. It may seem horrible to say but this was my gift to two amazing parents and they are doing fantastic, I don't need to be there for them!
Sperm donors have to undergo a fairly rigorous process.
Did you know that sperm banks often have age requirements, require potential donors to pass a physical exam and undergo genetic testing to see if they're carriers of any genetic conditions? Family history is examined, not to mention one's psychological history. It's no joke.
Potential sperm donors also have to ask themselves whether they're prepared for the possibility of being the biological father of a child or multiple children they might never meet. That makes these stories all the more fascinating!
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!
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We all need a little wholesome content every now and then. Much of the world, especially right now, can seem very dark and depressing.
It's important to recognize that not all of the world is as scary as it may seem. So we wanted to see what wholesome facts people had to share with us.
In fact, the world "wholesome" literally means "promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit."
Take a minute to enjoy this list of wholesome facts that will just make your heart melt.
Redditor 2ndRockBottom asked:
"What is the most wholesome fact you know?"
You might want to grab some tissues.
A lottery winner and a lucky waitress.
"In 1984, a regular customer at a pizzeria asked his waitress for help choosing his lottery numbers. He won, came back, and tipped her $3 million."
"For eight years, Robert Cunningham was a regular at Sal's Pizzeria in Yonkers, NY. One night, he asked waitress Phyllis Penzo to split the numbers on his card. On April Fool's Day, she was woken up by a phone call from Cunningham telling her he'd won $6 million and she was entitled to half of it and made good on his promise."
"There's a movie about that, right? Early 90's?"
Yep! It's called It Could Happen To You from 1994.
"There was a man from a small rural settlement in Australia (I think) who won $20,000 from a scratch card."
"A news crew reported on it and the chap demonstrated how it works by buying another ticket. When he scratched the ticket, he had won another $50,000."
"Not $50,000. He won $250,000."
"Not just that, I think he had just survived being declared legally dead, right?"
That's right. The man was declared dead and was then in a 15-day coma.
Cows are actually so cute.
"Cows have best friends."
"My parents had cows for many years. They always knew which cows were friends to each other. It was so cute."
"Cows love music."
"They'll drop what they're doing and run over to listen, and studies have shown lower stress levels and higher milk production."
"(Not doubting you) but I'm my experience, cows are just curious creatures. I remember throwing a football with my dad outside and the cows would always gather around to watch. Same would happen if I were playing in the yard. Any activity that wasn't 'normal' brought all the milkshakes to the yard"
"Cows ARE curious creatures. We had them come investigate our campfire one night."
"THAT'S a startling sight. You're drinking and smoking around a campfire with your friends, and suddenly you're in the middle of a circle of 30 cows."
"It was wild."
Happy little trees.
"Bob Ross's voice was intentionally soothing and quiet."
"He was a Airforce Master Sergeant, 'I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore.'"
"My wife and I have been watching Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting on YouTube. If you haven't checked it out, it is really relaxing and sometimes we fall asleep to it on the tv while lying in bed."
"We sometimes like to pick paintings and do a Bob Ross Night. We get out our supplies, some alcohol and some snacks, and we just watch Bob teach us. Some of the paintings do come out well."
More libraries than McDonald's.
"That there are more public libraries in the US than there are McDonald's. I grew up poor and the library was a refuge for me, my library card was the only thing I carried in my first wallet."
"I started taking my kids to libraries like my dad did with me and my brothers when we were kids."
"I f*cking love libraries man."
"Libraries are great! I spent the last 14 years living in a city with an underfunded library system, where I could never find what I was looking for. I moved to a different city that believes in funding public services, and I've been taking full advantage of my local library now."
Animals in mourning.
"Horses mourn the death of other creatures, not just horses. When my daughter was younger we took her to riding lessons. One of the horses stepped on one of the barn cats and killed it. It was buried inside the horse pen and ALL of them, including the younger one that was usually a pita and super playful, were standing around the burial area with their heads down. They were like this for 2 days I was told and this was common for how they deal with the dead."
"Elephants also mourn the dead hence the term 'Elephant graveyard' where relatives pay homage to those that have fallen. It seems the concept of life and death isn't an exclusive human thing."
"Crows mourn the deaths of other crows in a similar manner. They stand in a circle around the deceased and sometimes raise their wings up. Very surreal thing to see. They also remember faces and hold grudges, so be kind to your local crows."
Pets really are healing.
"Interacting with pets causes brain to make oxytocin."
"Where there was a lethal bus accident outside my workplace that had killed 8 passengers including coworkers, our workplace brought in some puppies for people to enjoy to make them feel better."
Mr. Rogers fun fact.
"Every one of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on his show were hand knitted by his mom."
"Bonus Neighborhood fact, Mr. Rogers began to include a segment of the show where he fed his fish because a child wrote him, concerned about whether or not they were still alive and well."
"Mr. Rogers kept to a fairly rigid diet and exercise program, in order to consistently weigh 143 pounds. 143 was important to him, because the word 'I' contains 1 letter, the word 'love' contains 4 letters, and the word 'you' contains 3 letters."
"So, 143 = 'I love you.'"
"After he passed away, the Governor of Pennsylvania declared May 23 - the 143rd day of the year - to be '143 Day,' in honor of Mr. Rogers. Citizens are encouraged to show kindness to neighbors on May 23. (And every other day)."
"He responded to every single letter he received, and kept every letter and drawing in a special filing cabinet. He considered every letter and drawing to be sacred."
"He named his puppet King Friday the 13th because he didn't like the negative stigma associated with Friday the 13th, and wanted children to associate Friday the 13th with a friendly puppet rather than a day of bad luck or evil."
"One night, Mr. Rogers was invited to a fancy dinner for PBS employees and executives. He was given a limousine ride to the restaurant. When they arrived, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffer when they would see each other again. The chauffeur explained that he would wait 2-3 hours outside, in the car, then drive him home."
"This didn't sit right with Mr. Rogers. So, he insisted on having the chauffeur join him for dinner."
"On the way home, Mr. Rogers sat in the front seat with the chauffeur, getting to know him better. As the chauffeur told Mr. Rogers what a fan his children were of the show, Mr. Rogers asked the chauffeur if he could meet them. The chauffeur took Mr. Rogers to his own home, where Mr. Rogers met everyone, hung out for a couple hours, and even played piano for them."
"The chauffeur said it was one of the best days of his life."
Some of these really hit hard. If you needed a few happy tears today, we hope this did it for you. There's a lot of difficult news in the world right now and it's important to remember that there are good, wholesome things happening all at the same time.
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Laws exist to maintain order. However, they do not prevent crimes from actually happening, and before any punishments are made, the damage is already done.
Curious to hear about some of the more creepy indiscretions people get away with, Redditor Flytechofficial asked:
"What is perfectly legal, but creepy as hell?"
These things that happen in public restrooms can be considered criminal.
Respecting Splash Zones
"Using the urinal next to me when there were plenty of other choices."
Nightmare For The Pee-Shy
"hanging out in a public bathroom timing how long people pee."
"I swear to God. I did a lot of work in hospitals for a while, big f'king hospitals with tons of bathrooms all over the place. For some God damned reason, regardless of what time or bathroom I selected to take a sh*t in not 30 seconds after I sat down a janitor would knock on the door to clean the bathroom. It's not as if it was one janitor, just some random janitor would inevitably need to clean whatever bathroom I was in as soon as I got comfy. It's like I was being stalked by the janitors."
"So now I'm trying to take a sh*t knowing full well there's somebody out there actively timing how long it takes."
"I was drunk in a casino and went to use the washroom. The floors in there were a polished marble or something. Sitting on the toilet, pants down, my stall neighbour made eye contact with me on the reflective floor tile."
The following examples involving minors have no legal repercussions.
Kids For Show
"Child Beauty pageants."
"Technically, you can stand on the sidewalk and stare into someone's house through a window. It's not illegal as long as you stay off of their property, but it's really freaking creepy."
Keeping Tabs On Someone's Age
"A national newspaper having a countdown for when a child actress becomes 'legal' for sex."
"Answers to questions that will surely come. ....Yes. The Sun (UK). Emma Watson."
The Young Subjects
"When I was a child, we had a creepy horrible neighbor that would harass my family constantly. One of the things he did was stand at the corner of his yard and videotape me playing in a pool with my friends (we were around 8). My parents called the police but were told that it's legal if he's on his property."
These perfectly harmless examples can give you goosebumps.
"Hanging your doll collection from the trees in your yard using string made from human hair."
"I believe the act of cannibalism itself is legal so long as you didn't murder anyone to do it. If your homie gives you his arm to gnaw on, it's fair game."
"Facing the wrong way in an elevator."
I recently treated myself by going to a movie theater after what seemed like a long hiatus for much of the year.
Streaming blockbuster movies from home, while convenient, has never made as much of an impact when compared to the moviegoing experience.
But after my recent trip to our local AMC, I'm beginning to think watching entertainment from the comfort of my quiet home is a much better option.
I forgot that a good majority of audience members are disrespectful and pretty much ignore all the rules—including no texting or talking during the movie.
The normal volume conversations and the number of lit screens from people's smartphone's in my peripheral vision throughout the movie were huge distractions.
Maybe as I'm getting older, my patience has worn thin, or I happened to have a particularly unpleasant experience. But seriously, how can anyone enjoy going to the movies when people are constantly updating their status inside a darkened auditorium?
It should illegal. Rant over.
Shaking hands... what's up with that?
Could this social custom be going out of style given that we're all in the middle of a global pandemic and have become hyperaware of all the germs around us?
And not just that, but just how nasty people are? Why would you want to shake hands with them?
People shared their opinions after Redditor alebenchhe asked the online community,
"What social customs do we need to retire?"
"Making couples feel obligated to have giant, fancy, weddings."
If someone wants that, then more power to them.
But there are indeed people out there who spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have weddings to please their families... only to divorce later.
"If I take a day..."
"Rest being seen as lazy. If I take a day off of work simply to sleep in and rest at home instead of having to have some sort of big plans or destination it shouldn't be seen as anything less."
"Having to purchase..."
"Having to purchase gifts for extended family that you cannot afford because it is Christmas or another holiday."
Yeah, let's stop that. Not all of us are made of money!
"Though it looks like this custom is fading away during the pandemic...but how about we stop glorifying us "being model employees by showing up to work even while sick?"
I was at a retailer for 14 years, and I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I used to see managers and supervisors dragging themselves to work while sick to please their superiors. In January 2020, I ended up getting the flu from a co-worker that decided it would impress the store manager if she still showed up while sick with the flu.
That culture went away REAL quick when we started getting COVID cases in the store I was at...and I too ended up getting a mild case of COVID. I've called out any time in the past when I felt sick...and I will continue to do so as I normally did."
"I don't create..."
"Worshipping celebrities. I don't get it and it seems to just create tons of problems."
The celebrity worshipping culture, at least in the United States, is insane, and sets people up with rather unrealistic expectations.
"This goes along..."
"That because someone is"family", you should force yourself to spend time with them and be "nice and respectful", no matter what kind of person they are or how they treat you.
This goes along with the enabling acceptance of "that's just how they are" rather than condemning poor behavior choices."
Yes, let's normalize cutting out toxic people from our lives. We'll thank ourselves later.
"Expensive funerals. The funeral industry is insane."
"Discussing salary with co-workers should no longer be taboo."
That's how they get you––it's in your employer's best interest to keep you in the dark, and it's wrong. Many people out there are not aware of their rights in the workplace.
"Giving greeting cards..."
"Giving greeting cards for every single event imaginable. Why pay $5 to give someone a piece of paper that will get thrown out the next day? I'd rather you give me $5 and skip the card."
It's a wild world we live in and social customs can and do change. Life now won't look the same twenty years from now for instance––perhaps for the better? Who knows?
Oh, and sorry, but can we go back to the topic of shaking hands? Let's not do that. Just wanted to be extra clear.
Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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I have a paralyzing fear of death. If I could I would live forever. Have you ever seen the movie "Death Becomes Her?" I would give every penny for that potion. And I wouldn't be all crazy like them.
Live well forever and be happy? It's possible. Even though life is nuts and scary, you're still here. What if there is nothing after the final breath? I don't want to just not exist, while everybody else just gets to keep on dancing.
In my hopes I see a Heaven with ice cream and vodka. So I'm going to hold onto that until eternal life is an option. Let's hear from the gallery...
Redditor u/St3fan34 wanted to discuss life after life, by asking:
What do you think really happens after death?
I feel like if there is nothing after life, it just invalidates life. But maybe I'm just dramatic. I hope there is peace. Thoughts?
Leftoversblack and white two funerals GIFGiphy
"Your family fights for your belongings."
"When we die, the whole world as seen by us, dies together with us."
"Yes it does. As does the entire universe. Only when we are alive can we experience the passage of time. The instant we die the entire universe will experience heat death and cease to be. It my take a million eons but since we can no longer experience time it will be relatively instantaneous."
"It's one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can't have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum. ~Alan Watts"
"When I was much younger, I had a dream where I died. Not a typical dream, not a romanticized dream. It was a dream where I was an archer in a medieval battle. About 5 minutes into the battle, chaos was all around me, and I watched an opposing archer aim and loose an arrow straight into my left eye."
"I remember the sensation of impact, ringing in my ears, and falling to the ground. I remember the warmth of the blood on my face. The feeling of life leaving my body, and the sense of worry evaporating into warmth and peace as the world left behind me."
"I remember waking up shortly after thinking that the feeling and reality of that experience was so vivid and so detailed that it must have been an experience from a previous incarnation hundreds of years ago. From that moment on, I've never feared the actual process of death. I feel like I've experienced it many times before."
EraseComputer Reaction GIFGiphy
"I think one of your best friends delete's your browsing history."
If you love me... rule number one... HIDE THE EVIDENCE!!! Let that be heard far and wide. And dreams, always so intertwined aren't they?
Before & AfterHappy Baby GIFGiphy
"Exactly the same as before you were born."
"We clean the bed and assign it to another patient."
"The REAL reason why nurses are so dark. 90 year old man in hospice got hit by a car on his way to get fitted for his funeral tuxedo, and didn't have a DNR. Kept him alive for four hours, and now it's time to document everything that was done to save his life because there will inevitably be a lawsuit from a family member who has had four years to say goodbye but somehow didn't get to."
I don't know what they mean or how to utilize them. I'm a Buddhist (but a gamer first and foremost) so it's cool you guys made those connections This totally makes up for r/movies continuously banning me."
"I've answered this one before but here it is again. Either two things happen after you die: you either go somewhere or it's oblivion. If it is oblivion, then we're just going back to the same place before we were born and there's nothing wrong with that. We were there for billions or trillions of years, possibly infinity."
"You lose that concept of time since your brain doesn't work anymore so you don't even know it's over. It's not nothing because nothing would be something and that means that you are aware, which you can not be if you're dead. If we do go somewhere, then that's something no one understands because no one has ever come back to tell us."
"Those stories of people coming back after they "died" and "saw stuff" weren't really dead. Their hearts stopped but their brains were still working. If the Universe continues to recycle itself infinitely, then there's a chance we will be reborn or continuously reborn but have no memory of our previous selves."
"When I was a kid I drowned while on holiday with my family, a giant fat man jumped in the pool on top of me and no one noticed till I was on the bottom of the pool. I remember the feeling of my lungs being on fire, then shivering then as everything was going dark a strange sense of peace and I was ok with it, No panic or terror then it went black."
"I was resuscitated at the side of the pool a few minutes later. I remember nothing from the black to being "alive" again. I was around 7 when it happened and since then I've been strangely at peace with the fact that one day I will die and slip into the dark void of nothingness. Hope that helps."
Popcorn?500 days of summer cinema GIFGiphy
"You wake up in a chair in a cinema and learn that the other are past lives of you and you're about to watch your next life very soon on the big screen."
The truth is none of us know the truth. We live everyday with the afterlife being a gamble. And that seems like it's going to have to be enough.