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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Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
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Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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