Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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.


"I agreed..."

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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