Hi everyone!

My name is Lindsay, I am a 24 year old woman from the Northeastern United States whose parents used an anonymous sperm donor to have me. Of those siblings, 23 are paternal half-siblings (from the same donor) with whom I was not raised, and the 24th (more accurately, the 1st) is a maternal half-brother who I grew up with but for whom our parents used a different donor.


-23andMe screenshot showing the 11 half-sibs who've tested on that service

-Scan of the donor's paperwork


Ask me anything! :)

Fam accounts:

u/rockbeforeplastic is Daley, our biological father

u/debbiediabetes is Sarah (the sister with whom I share the highest % match!)

u/thesingingrower is McKenzie (the oldest sibling!)

u/birdlawscholar is Kristen, her and Brittany were the first donor sibs to get in touch

u/crocodilelile is Brittany, her and Kristen were the first donor sibs to get in touch

EDIT 1:41 PM EST: I'm gonna go ahead and wrap this up now that the comment flow has slowed down. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED! You all (minus just a handful) were incredibly respectful, and asked wonderful, thoughtful questions. From the bottom of my heart, this has been a joy & who knows, maybe we'll do it again once we find even more! Thank you all. <3

For all of the donor conceived folks who commented looking for resources, check out We Are Donor Conceived and good luck with your searches, my whole heart is with you. 💕

EDIT 9:10 AM EST: Aaaaaand we're back! I'm gonna start working my way through all of your wonderful questions from last night, and a few of my siblings (and maybe the donor) may hop on to help! As I spot them, I'll throw their usernames in the OP so you all know they're legit! :)

EDIT: I'm gonna resume answering questions in the morning, it's late and I've been at this for a few hours! So happy with all of the positivity, can't wait to see what fun stuff people ask while I'm sleeping! :)

To tide folks over:

Here’s a link to a podcast about my family that NPR’s The Leap did and aired on NPR 1 on Thanksgiving

Here’s a link to a video my sister made of the last family reunion, before I was around!

Also, newly up and running, we’ve got a joint Instagram where we intend to post little snippets of our lives! If you want to follow along once content starts flowin, we’re @paperplanesociety on insta!

Comments: 1249 • Responses: 107  • Date: 

lenswipe6251 karma

Can we talk about the fact that you have 24 half-siblings and the service is called "23 and me"?

modernvintage2912 karma

We've been waiting for this moment for EVER and when we found number 24, the jokes in the group chat were endless :)

TheSinningRobot647 karma

Are you in contact with all of the others?

modernvintage1329 karma

We are or have been in contact with everyone! There are two siblings who we have very limited contact with or who no longer talk to us because of irreconcilable political differences, but other than that, everyone is in contact to some degree!

IReallyLikeSushi433 karma

Can you tell us more about these irreconcilable differences?

modernvintage1283 karma

I'd rather keep this thread positive, and also I wasn't around for the original conflict so I don't feel comfortable speaking about it, but effectively the rest of us range from left-leaning moderate to leftist so I'll let you extrapolate from there.

Bigdaddytyrece77 karma

Hmm this is exactly my story and I’m In a group chat with 20+ half brothers and sisters. Does the number 870 mean anything to you? Lol

modernvintage27 karma

It does not, but we have groupchats too! It's so nice to see other big, connected families.

PinkGems993 karma

Did your donor dad manage to get his philosophy qualification in between all the donating?

modernvintage909 karma

Hahaha I love this question, I'm 100% going to pass this along to him. I'm actually not sure what his degree is in, but he works for the government of a major US city now & still is very passionate about law & philosophy!

EDIT: my sister Sarah u/debbiediabetes has informed me that he did, in fact, get his degree in philosophy!

wheresmystache3309 karma

I hope this doesn't get overlooked, but I've been wanting to do an AMA as a sperm donor conceived 22F. My biological father's major was philosophy and I almost had a heart attack seeing the words "philosophy" jump out from the page on the donor info.

Our pages look very similar(my father's birth year is 1971 as well.. ) but alas, we're not siblings. The bank my mother used was Zygen Laboratory of California, though I'm from Florida. Was this yours as well?

I'm waiting to do a 23 and me when I make something of myself after I graduate college. I know from donor sibling registry, I have at least a few half-siblings.

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, and I know we may have had the same struggles growing up we've become proud of :)

modernvintage274 karma

I'm so glad to know you're reading this. Thank you for commenting. :)

Unfortunately not Zygen, he donated at CCB and SBoC, so we're not siblings, but I can assure you I almost had a heart attack reading this comment too! Good luck to you in your search, but please don't feel like you need to "be" something to have a relationship with them, I'm sure they'll love you just as you are!

AwkwardSpread640 karma

What do you call your donor? I guess it's not 'dad'...

earl_encoded2451 karma

I’d just call him Gene.

modernvintage1031 karma

omg this is incredible

Electro_Nick_s164 karma

You said your group chat can be quite punny. I'm assuming you shared that with them?

modernvintage216 karma

Of course, they're loving the humor!

modernvintage483 karma

Haha, definitely not dad! I was raised by heterosexual parents so I already had one of those. ;)

We all refer to him different ways! I personally call him by his first name when talking to friends or family who are familiar with our story, or when talking to folks who aren't so familiar, refer to him as my biological father or biodad.

KonohaBatman638 karma

When you met your siblings and your biological father, did you notice any striking similarities, personality-wise?

modernvintage1558 karma

Oh absolutely! With some more than others for sure, but it's definitely there to some degree with all of them.

It's interesting that you asked about personality — most people ask about looks! This whole experience has led me to the conclusion that personality is WAY more genetic than we think it is.

My favorite that's perhaps not necessarily personality is that almost all of us can really sing! Also, despite being raised in different parts of the country, in different family configurations across different socioeconomic statuses, almost all of us are VERY left-leaning with only a handful of exceptions. We're all highly empathetic, kind, and VERY personable. Not all of us are extroverted or bubbly, but a lot of us are! A lot of folks are astonishingly good at puns (much to the rest of our dismay), and a ton of us have a wicked sense of humor. There are also a non-trivial number of queer folks, myself included, which I find super interesting. :)

SprightlyCompanion102 karma

So interesting! You have a little community of half-siblings. You could make a choir :D

stubborn_introvert59 karma

Maybe their voices all sound similar and it’d sound extra good lol

modernvintage96 karma

Our voices actually all blend really well which is pretty cool :)

2fly2hyde56 karma

I feel that you can be left or right leaning, but if you add very to it, you are just on the left or right.

modernvintage62 karma

This is super fair haha, I should reconsider the language!

phloopy47 karma

Can I be part of your family?

modernvintage51 karma

Sure, the more the merrier!

isabroad32 karma

almost all of us are VERY left-leaning with only a handful of exceptions

Don't people who are more left-leaning and with more money tend to adopt kids more though?

modernvintage87 karma

Definitely could be a result of our parents primarily being white and middle-class and educated/well-off enough to afford artificial insemination! We all did grow up in different socioeconomic brackets, and grew up everywhere from Kentucky to Buffalo to Berkeley, so I think we control for that at least a bit!

an-on12345299 karma

Has your father shared his feelings about this with you? Does knowing that change your relationship with him at all? How old were you when you found out? I myself am a male with two children from donor sperm, as I’m not able to have my own biological children. Wondering what it’s like from the child’s perspective.

modernvintage432 karma

Hey there! It's so nice to see a recipient parent seeking to understand the donor-conceived perspective :)

I learned last February at the age of 23, and will always wish that I'd learned the way some of my siblings had — being told from so early on that they can never remember the "moment" they found out, it's just always been part of their story.

My dad unfortunately passed away in January, so I only had 11 months with him knowing that I knew & I'll always have more questions I wish I could've asked him. He was really glad that I knew, and was totally & completely supportive of me finding my siblings and my biodad and was ecstatic for me when I did.

I wish that every recipient parent was as supportive of their donor-conceived kids as my dad was! Getting this secret out into the open definitely changed our relationship for the better, and I can't encourage parents enough to tell their children and support them in however they want to handle their identity. Secrets always come out, and building a family around them only creates problems and resentment!

an-on12345172 karma

Thanks. My kids are 7 and 5. I feel like the time is coming soon. We were kind of told the time would be right when they started asking where babies come from, etc. That hasnt really happened yet, so I’m kind of looking for that moment when they’ll be primed for or accepting of it. Both of them will have the option of finding out their biological father when they turn 18, through they are not from the same donor.

modernvintage198 karma

I would definitely tell them soon! My best advice is to not keep waiting and waiting for the right moment — that's what my parents did and that moment just never presented itself.

There are plenty of children's books that are written to help explain assisted reproduction to the children who are products of it that could help your family! I would also recommend using scientific terms & making sure not to oversell the donor's "goodness." Not that some donors aren't wonderful people, but you don't want to build up their expectations of these wonderful, generous men only to have them find out at 18 that their donors don't live up to that image.

My original social brother and I are also half-siblings genetically & finding that out as an adult was almost harder than finding out about my dad, which is yet another reason it's awesome that they're finding out so young.

I'm really really glad that your family chose an ID release donor & that you're planning on telling them, I'm sure they'll be so grateful you did later on!!

VanishingTacos6 karma

I feel like learning this at such an age is kinda late. I would have told them when they are at least their teens.

modernvintage25 karma

It's actually recommended now that people tell their kids so young that they never remember learning & it's just always part of their story!

Parapsycho4 karma


How did that revelation come about? Did it have anything to do with the 23andMe test?

modernvintage21 karma

My mom actually told me the night before I moved to another city! I found my siblings and my biological father by crosschecking usernames from the Donor Sibling Registry with various social media platforms. I took a 23andMe after just to quell the paranoia that I may have gotten it wrong – turns out, I got it right on the first try & they are my siblings!

justwantsthetruth-3 karma

Didn’t you say above that you are still in contact with your dad? But he passed away in January?

I was confused. Thanks for the clarification.

modernvintage15 karma

I said that I was in regular contact with my biological father, the sperm donor. My social dad passed away in January.

SnatchAddict8 karma

What's a social dad? Sorry if I didn't get if you mentioned it before

modernvintage11 karma

That's okay, sorry for not thinking to explain the lingo! When I say social dad, I mean the dad who raised me but who was not genetically related to me.

SnatchAddict8 karma

Oh. My mom is adopted and coincidentally, so is my wife. They both refer to their dads as Dad. I've never heard the term social dad.

Thank you for the clarification.

modernvintage4 karma

I only use it in this sort of context or to differentiate the two!

docbak172 karma

Have you tried to find your biological father?

modernvintage388 karma

We have and are in regular contact with him through texting, video chat, whatsapp, you name it!

When my oldest sister was 18, she reached out through one of the banks he donated at & was put into contact with him, just using first initials. After that relationship became more established and he revealed his identity to her (and so to the siblings who were in contact with each other at that time) he changed his status with the banks from anonymous to identity-release.

EDIT: my siblings have reminded me that I am Bad At Math, when my oldest sister was 18, she reached out but because of the age range, the younger folks actually met him before they turned 18 with the youngest being my sister who met him at 15!

MajesticFlapFlap89 karma

Is he overwhelmed by texts from the 24 of you?

modernvintage165 karma

We have a couple big Whatsapp chats and snapchat groups with (almost) all of us, and I think everyone gets overwhelmed every once in a while and has to mute everything! It's a lot of people to keep up with!

docbak68 karma

That’s cool!

modernvintage122 karma

YOU'RE cool! :)

Web-splorer162 karma

Does the sperm donor know how many children he has?

modernvintage275 karma

He does not, in fact none of us do. Record keeping was abysmal back in the day, and so as a result none of us will ever know for sure how many siblings/offspring we have out there or if we've found them all. As a point of reference, my sister contacted California Cryobank when she turned 18 to register her own birth — she was the first live-birth from our donor they'd heard about. The majority of us were conceived through CCB.

corvidaecrow137 karma

Is there anything you would tell people considering using sperm donation to conceive? Or would you recommend against it?

modernvintage529 karma

SO many things! I'm not personally indiscriminately against gamete donation, though there are some folks in the community that are against the practice as a whole. I guess my top recommendations would be as follows:

  1. Do not use an anonymous donor, most donor-conceived folks do not support anonymous gamete donation, and in fact it's banned in most other developed nations. We deserve access to our own medical histories. The identity of our biological parent is information that belongs to us.
  2. Be honest with your children about their genetic origins from such a young age that they cannot ever remember finding out. Secrets always come out and basing your family around one will only lead to negative outcomes
  3. Support your child in however they want to handle their identity, and remember that, as my half-sister says, family is only additive — the addition of half-siblings or a bio parent does not subtract anything from your relationship with your child
  4. Understand that there are no legally enforced limits on number of offspring in the US, and that banks frequently lie to prospective parents and have AWFUL record keeping
  5. PLEASE get counseling before conceiving a child this way. It's okay to have complex emotions surrounding this, your child more than likely will, but it's not okay to hoist those emotions onto your unsuspecting child because of a choice that you made!

I may add to this as more things occur to me!

great-god-om155 karma

My wife and I are conceiving through sperm donation and this is super helpful. As an adoptee I get some of it but I know I can't project all my experiences on my future child because it's not exactly the same. Thanks for sharing.

modernvintage77 karma

Thank you so much for being willing to listen to the perspective of donor-conceived folks! :)

hfiggs35 karma

Could you elaborate more on #1? I've never really thought about it before, but I'm curious why you are against anonymous donors. Without considering it in depth, I don't really see a problem with it.

modernvintage127 karma

I believe that a person's genetic parentage is information that belongs to that individual. Anonymity is unnecessarily cruel, and, especially important, often leaves people without half of their medical history and no legal way to access that important (and potentially life-saving) information.

My donor, at the time of his donation, had two living parents and so the medical history I have from that time reflects that. Both of those parents died before I found him, his mother very early. Had he stayed anonymous, I wouldn't know that both of my paternal grandparents had medical conditions causing early death that I absolutely needed to know about.

notthisorthateither-32 karma


modernvintage21 karma

I'd genuinely appreciate that you don't resort to name-calling, it's wholly unnecessary and uncalled for.

We're not talking about mistresses or affairs, we're talking about children seeking out biological connections that were intentionally severed. And even in the case of an affair, that's not the child's fault and i think any parent who changes their relationship with a child they've raised for twenty years because of something entirely outside of that child's control is wildly immoral.

An adult developing a strong relationship with their biological parent does not negate the relationship with the parent that raised them. Parents who try and limit their children's desired relationships are making a mistake that will only create further distance from those children.

h2f128 karma

I was recruited as a donor many years ago. I donated several times and would be happy if a biological child wanted to contact me. I long ago sent a sample to 23 and Me for other reasons but haven't done anything else. I think what I have done is enough to allow myself to be found if a child wants to find me but not so much that I am chasing them if they don't want to find me. Do you agree that is a reasonable balance to strike? Would you recommend that I send samples elsewhere?

modernvintage123 karma

Maybe send one to Ancestry, but folks looking usually use 23&me and Ancestry as their first stops, so I think that what you've done is great and am so glad to hear that you're open to contact!

Narratticus125 karma

How did you get the info about your half siblings, like is that website provided by the donor provider?

modernvintage239 karma

The website in the screenshot is actually 23andMe. We've found various siblings various ways — some of us have gone through DNA testing (and accidentally discovered their biological origins), some have gone through the banks, some who've known for a lot longer went through a website called the Donor Sibling Registry.

I went about it in a bit of a weird way — I crosschecked the usernames listed under my donor's ID number on the DSR with various social media platforms and found two of my sisters' Instagrams!

EDIT: Important piece I've been forgetting, I think I hold the record within my sibling group for fastest turnaround! I found out I was donor conceived at 11PM on 2/12/18 and was on the phone with my sister just before 7AM on 2/13/18 :)

diggybiggsisbiginga166 karma

Off topic but 23andMe most adequately describes your situation.

modernvintage119 karma

You're right! We've been waiting for this forever, and when we found enough that we could make that joke there were endless variations of it in the chat haha

amugglestruggle46 karma

This might be a weird question but do you ever worry about accidentally dating a half sibling without realizing? I know that some people opt to keep their info private and I've seen some interesting Reddit threads on that very topic, so I always wonder.

modernvintage49 karma

Answered this one elsewhere in the thread, but yes!

_DogLips_121 karma


modernvintage365 karma

This is actually a really good question, and we've definitely had some close calls! Two of our siblings, a brother and sister, lived less than half a mile apart for two years, another 4 of our siblings went to middle and high school together in a small town & didn't know they were related, eep!

This is actually one of the biggest reasons I think it's super important that all donor-conceived folks know their origins and have access to information about their siblings. I don't date people within the age-range of my potential siblings, but it would be so much easier if I just knew who all of them were!

MeagoDK66 karma

Is close calls living close to each other? I would consider close calls to be them dating but finding out before sex.

modernvintage107 karma

By that definition, no close calls yet thank god! Some of us worry about the possibility more than others, I think I fall on the "worries about it a lot" end of that spectrum haha

the-cheddarwoman49 karma

Did they ever meet back in high school/middle school? If so do they remember each other

modernvintage124 karma

They did and they do! There's even a picture of two of them together, which is wild in retrospect!

howsadley97 karma

Do you know what the donor’s feelings were when he was first contacted by a bio child? I would think men are going to think twice or three times before donating going forward.

modernvintage211 karma

I texted him, so I'll update this comment with his response once he gets back to me, but from what I understand he was surprised and a little cautious but mostly just amazed at how fast 18 years had gone & very interested!

I also feel that men thinking two or three times before donating is an unequivocally good thing. Donating sperm isn't like donating blood — you're not simply aiding an existing, ailing human, you're creating an entirely new one who is every bit as related to you as your social children with your romantic partner.

Because we live in a world where DNA testing means that any donor can be found, sperm and egg banks guaranteeing anonymity to donors is now not only unethical, but also an outright lie. Men and women who donate sperm and eggs should absolutely only do so if they're willing to have some sort of relationship with their biological children!

howsadley69 karma

You seem super well adjusted!

modernvintage107 karma

Thanks! I am some of the time, and other times this still feels quite hard. I learned my origins as an adult, and my entire world was flipped on its head — I think when that happens, for any reason, some "negative" emotions are normal and totally reasonable.

I'm incredibly fortunate in that when I found out, I found my family immediately and they all (donor included) have been very welcoming and incredibly supportive. Not everyone is as fortunate!

z0nb152 karma

I'm curious. Why place so much value in these strangers just because they share some DNA with you. As far as I'd be concerned, the people who raised me are my family. I don't mean any offense, I'm just trying to get inside your head so as to understand better.

modernvintage64 karma

This is a pretty common question I get, and I'll try and explain as best I can.

My siblings were strangers when I met them, but the second we started talking, it didn't feel that way. It felt like catching up with an old friend, someone I'd known for years. We're undeniably similar, in personality and in looks, and have so many shared experiences and emotions — we have a shared biological parent.

I may not have known them growing up, but whether I knew them or not, they've always been there and always been my siblings. They've grown to be some of my best friends, and I cannot wait for the rest of our lives spent knowing each other.

obsessedcrf-1 karma

Because we live in a world where DNA testing means that any donor can be found, sperm and egg banks guaranteeing anonymity to donors is now not only unethical, but also an outright lie. Men and women who donate sperm and eggs should absolutely only do so if they're willing to have some sort of relationship with their biological children!

It absolutely should be an option. Unfortunately this can be a legal obligation risk if the mother decides to go for child support depending on how the law is implemented in the area.

modernvintage2 karma

Non-anonymous donors are already an option, and the child support concern you raise isn't a problem, so this is a moot point.

Roughneck1688 karma

In terms of ethnic background, do you have much variety in your half-siblings? Are any of them biracial?

modernvintage83 karma

I'm sorry it took me so long to get to this comment, I saw it earlier but couldn't find it again!

We have some variety, but not a ton. Three of us are a quarter Armenian, one of us is Latina, two are Jewish, and my donor's three kids are also half non-white (I'm not going to specify beyond that bc they're all underage).

Beyond that, the rest of us are just white European!

LetsGetLambasted18 karma

Are any of your half-siblings full siblings? As in a mother who used the same donor for multiple pregnancies?

thesingingrower17 karma

OP's sister here! We have multiple siblings who have maternal half-siblings they grew up with who's parents used a different donor, and we have three sets of siblings (two sets of two and a set of three) that are full siblings!

For those with half-siblings from a different donor, they are half siblings because their parents were unable to purchase more from the same donor -- some have older siblings from before our donor was available, and some have younger siblings from after the donor was no longer available.

modernvintage20 karma

Wait McKenzie text me I can't remember who the third set of full sibs is lmao

Znowmanting80 karma

Do you believe that a sperm donor is obliged to be in contact with his offspring? I reckon there are a load of guys who donate sperm but don’t actually want maintain a relationship with their biological children

modernvintage162 karma

100% yes.

Medical history updates and general answering of questions at the very least. I think it’s wildly unethical and immoral to create human beings and then refuse to interact with them in any way.

MsCardeno64 karma

This answer hit close to home here and I had a follow up question.

My wife and I are using a sperm donor (through a cryobank) this fall to begin TTC.

We have absolutely no intention of having the donor in our child’s life. We will answer all questions and the donor’s info will be released at 18 and the child can reach out if they want to. But not before then.

Do you think we should be looking for donors that would be involved from day one? I would be very hesitant to approach it that way and it’s off the table for us but am open to hear the pros!

modernvintage94 karma

I don't think it's your decision to make, if I'm honest.

I think the only ethical option is for you to use a known or identity release donor, to tell your child from day one, and to support them in whatever path they choose to take regarding their identity.

The donor's information is not yours to gatekeep — it is information that, from day one, absolutely belongs to your child, and in order to do this the right way, you have to provide them with everything you know & help them learn whatever they want to learn.

MsCardeno61 karma

Well legally speaking, from the paperwork we signed - we can not dig into who the donor is. The only way it is released is to the child at the age of 18. We’re not gatekeeping as we don’t even know the information. Of course, everything we know they will know.

Also, we are two women. So no hiding the fact that we used a donor! But even if our child wanted to know at age 12 and demanded we tell them - we literally couldn’t. There was a case a few months back where a mom reached out to a donor family through one of those DNA sites and she was stripped of all of her sibling sperm and would be sued for something like $25,000 if she didn’t stop - we absolutely don’t want to be in that situation.

I guess I was looking at the pros of having a third adult in the child’s life. Again, we will not be taking the route but it would have been interesting hearing thoughts on the matter. Thanks!

modernvintage44 karma

Ah, gotcha.

Something to keep in mind, your child didn't sign anything and so cannot be bound to anything — it's impossible for someone to be legally constrained by a contract that signed away their rights before they were even conceived. While you and your partner cannot look, your child can & that makes it all the more important that you support them!

veronicacrank30 karma

I wish everyone felt this way.

My dad was adopted and when we found his biological mother, she refused to give us any information about his biological father. Even after my dad passed away, she still wouldn't even tell us his name. She said it was her "adventure" and refused to say more. She's now since passed and I'm in contact with some of my family from that side. They too won't tell me anything about my biological grandmother's family. It's my family too and I feel that me and brother are entitled to that information. They don't need to have a relationship with us but we do deserve to know where we come from. So frustrating.

modernvintage21 karma

I'm so sorry, that sounds endlessly frustrating. I agree, your family history and family medical history belong to you and your brother.

Larryskillzs61 karma

My daughter and 5 month old twins have over 35 other half siblings.

We have met 3 of them. Actually 2 families are headed down to my house in a few weeks to hang.

My question to you is, with so many kids, how is your bio dad handling it?

The moms have a fb group and chat.

When I found out that I was a zero(no sperm) it was mind blowing. I have no genetic disorders, no issues with anything.

I’m so glad my wife pushed me to have kids though a sperm donor. She picked someone like me, from looks to background. While the kids are not “mine”, I’m their dad.

modernvintage38 karma

I'm so glad that you're open to your kids meeting their siblings from such a young age, I'm tearing up thinking about it and how wonderful you both are. Thank you, thank you thank you thank you. You absolutely are their dad, and they're so lucky to have you!

He's doing well, I think! Definitely can be stretched a little thin time-wise on occasion, but he's said that he's just grateful that we want to know him. :)

Larryskillzs55 karma


This ama hit me hard. lol. We told our daughter that daddy(me) had no seeds and we had to borrow some for mommy to have a baby.

For me, when I talk to my daughter about it; I’m constantly tearing up because it’s like I still failed in life not being able to have biological kids. Also, I have no idea when the day will come where she gets mad at me and will throw it in my face. I think I will die a little the day that happens, but I will look past it.

Ugh. I’m tearing up right now. Haha. So hard.

modernvintage48 karma

Don't crystal ball it! She probably will come to understand that it's a sensitive topic for you, and while my dad and I also at times had a strained relationship, I never would have DREAMED of throwing this in his face. I'm sure she loves you very much, and while biology is important, social relationships are just as important. You are her dad, unequivocally and absolutely her dad.

SingleMaltLife27 karma

I’d just want to say that you are speaking with the experience of a mature person having found out. It may be entirely possible for some one raised knowing everything to have a teenage tantrum and say something horrible. Yes they won’t mean it and will probably regret it, but a teenager, who is influenced by other teenagers might throw it back. They should perhaps be prepared for it, and by that I mean educate the kids to better understand it, and help them, and their friends understand it.

Also little kids likely will ask questions to try and understand it that might accidentally come across as hurtful.

modernvintage17 karma

This is a fair point.

Perhaps it's more accurate not to say that it'll never happen, but that she may not mean it & that if it does you should try to be understanding.

milesred59 karma

Do you / would you donate?

modernvintage267 karma

I do not & would not donate, and the vast majority of my siblings feel similarly!

Second-generation donation, we feel, is highly unethical based on the lack oversight and regulation in the fertility industry and so the way that a second-generation donor would exponentially increase the odds of accidental incest. I don't even know how many half-siblings I have out there — none of us want our kids to have to worry about even more cousins they'll never know about!

mariem8954 karma

Do you think he misunderstood what it meant when someone first told him that he is a universal donor?

modernvintage36 karma

LMAO you guys are killing it with the puns on this thread, jeez

constantino242 karma

were your parents aware of the donors bio? like did they know if he was good looking, smart, successful ect.

and if so, any apparent propensity for beauty or intelligence, realizing theres a metric ton of nurture over nature in that, Im still curious since people value these things in choosing a donor I think.

modernvintage105 karma

They were aware of what he put in the bio packet that I uploaded the first page of! They had what he was studying in college, some answers to generic questions, a family medical history, and a list of his physical traits but no picture.

I think there's absolutely a genetic link for intelligence. All of us are VERY bright, and almost all of us are university-educated (not that those things are synonymous). As far as looks go, of course how you look is genetic!

If you meant propensity for intelligence or beauty in terms of how parents pick donors, we had everything from a Jewish mom picking someone non-Jewish to "spice up the gene pool," to a mom walking in and asking for the most attractive donor, to folks choosing him for his sense of humor or SAT scores!

throwawaydonor1940 karma

Hey there, I guess I'm your opposite number. I'm a former sperm donor who found out about my 19 (and counting) biological child in the last year, when 23 & Me connected the dots and one of the recipient parents reached out to me. Since then, I've been in contact with a handful of the parents and some of the kids, but most of them are still pretty young. It has been quite a shock learning about all this, but seeing the similarities between all the half-siblings has been pretty amazing. How did you initially contact your donor dad?

modernvintage18 karma

Hi! Nice to hear from another donor!

My sister reached out shortly after her 18th birthday through the bank and established contact, so everyone was already in contact with the donor for a few years before I found out. Everyone came to it at different paces, some folks still don't have a relationship with him, some view him as an uncle figure, and some view him in a more paternal light!

throwawaydonor1914 karma

OK, so I'm guessing your donor had chosen identity disclosure from the jump. At the time I was donating, I wasn't sure, so always defaulted to "Undecided" and figured I'd make the decision later in life. Well, time and technology caught up to me, because several of the half-sibs had connected through the Donor Sibling Registry, and when a family member did 23&Me, all of them were suddenly linked up to me. They found me on social media and one of the recipient parents reached out, and here we are.

modernvintage18 karma

From what I understand, he was actually originally anonymous but opted to change his status after he was contacted through the bank and established a relationship with one of my sisters!

throwawaydonor1918 karma

Gotcha. I was anonymous as well, and haven't updated my status with the bank, frankly because I don't entirely trust their methods. At the time I was donating, I was assured that my identifying info was kept very secure, AND that their policy was to "retire" a donor after 12 live births. So, many years later when I heard about the Donor Sibling Registry, I search my donor info on there and was pretty shocked to see the quantity of info that was there, plus way more than 12 kids. I don't know if the bank's contact program is just another profit center, so my communication with the recipient families has been through social media. I have my own family now, with concerns for their privacy, so I'm taking it slow. However, the majority of my donor kids are pretty young, so their parents are rightly protective of them communicating with someone who's basically a stranger, aside from genetics. I'm curious about what the future holds though.

modernvintage18 karma

Definitely understand the wariness around banks — many of our families were also told that there was a birth limit but that's most definitely been proven a lie.

I'm glad you're open to contact, and I understand the concern for your family, but I can say that for us, our donor's kids love growing up with 21 older siblings and we absolutely ADORE them!

BigHaircutPrime37 karma

That's really interesting! It's awesome that you are connecting with your half-siblings. Do you guys feel like family to each other (a literal "brother/sister from another mother"), or strangers?

There's a great movie made in my city of Montreal called "Starbuck." It's a fantastic French film about a middle-aged man who suddenly discovers that all the sperm donations he did in his late teens (for cash) resulted in dozens of children he knew nothing about. It's a really great watch if you don't mind reading subtitles.

modernvintage34 karma

We do! Of course I have a different relationship with everyone, and I'm closer with some than others, but they absolutely feel like siblings. It's this connection that's sort of beyond anything material that I can't quite explain — I recognize them and they recognize me on the deepest level. We're there for each other through the good and the bad, and of course we have our own conflicts as all siblings do, but it's amazing to have them and I'm eternally grateful that they're in my life and we get to know each other.

Thank you for the recommendation, I don't mind subtitles at all so it's definitely going on my list!!

Yoxs8437 karma

Young sperm donor here. What would you say its important to take into account if you donate? (Bye here in Spain records are very thorough and anonimity is not only guaranteed but inforced, meanind its not legal for patents to choose a donor).

modernvintage37 karma

Hi! Nice to hear from a donor. I'm sad to hear, though, that Spain's laws are so regressive.

Please understand that the offspring you're producing are as related to you as your own children and that they may want to know who you are or need medical information, and that I and many people like me believe you are morally obligated to give that to them. I would ask that you be open to contact with your biological children, I know that contact with us has enriched my bio dad's life drastically, and test on different DNA sites so that they may find you!

gerudored15 karma

Hey there, egg donor here. I'm curious about your comment regarding donor children wanting access to their medical history. The application process is pretty extensive and I provided all the medical history I had access to, and completed medical & DNA testing. What more might a DC be looking for? Updates to family history that occurred after donating?

I donated anonymously because I didn't know any different. But after joining a donor support group (for poor treatment by the clinic) and with DNA sites becoming more popular, I know it's just a matter of time before I'm contacted.

modernvintage12 karma

Updates post-donation are exactly it!

My donor, at the time of donation, had two living parents. Both of those parents died young, and I would never have known about it if I hadn't gotten in contact.

vividporpoise36 karma

Any tips on finding anonymous-listed sperm donors? I've been looking for mine on and off for the past couple years with just a donor code and not much luck.

modernvintage55 karma

Hi!! My best advice would be to DNA test on every available service & join groups for donor-conceived folks & genetic searches on Facebook! There are folks called Search Angels who offer their time up to help folks searching for genetic family make mirror trees and track family down!

Shoot me a PM and I'll give you some more info & see if I can help at all :)

purplekatrinka35 karma

What is the age range of your half-siblings? Are you all mid-20ish? How many of you have met face to face? Do you know why your parents didn't tell you? (Not judging, just curious why. I have a friend who used an egg donor and her husband doesn't want to disclose. As an adoptee who was raised knowing, I am always curious about keeping it a secret-especially with self dna testing.)

modernvintage57 karma

Hi! I'm gonna answer this one in order.

We range from 25-19, and then the donor's children are 11, 8, and 5.

I've met 7 in person! Never gets any less exciting haha.

My parents were always intending to tell me, but were waiting for the right moment & it never presented itself. I think at a certain point they also were worried my brother and I would be angry that they didn't tell us.

I hope your friend and her husband tell their daughter, she deserves to know!!

akromyk26 karma

As someone who is about to raise a donor-conceived daughter in a few months (wife is 5 months along) is there any advice you can give me?

I keep coming back to the fear that I’ll eventually just seem like a stranger or imposter once she’s old enough to understand that we’re not related and that our family is different than most.

modernvintage29 karma

Hi! I'm so glad you're here, thank you for asking questions & being vulnerable!

I promise you that she will not feel that way about you! You're her dad, regardless of the biology, and as long as you're a good dad, that wont ever change. My best advice is to be open from day one with her, always reassure her that you love her, and to support her in however she chooses to deal with her identity.

If you're distinctly worried about those things to the point that you think there's even a chance you could project those fears onto your daughter, consciously or unconsciously, please please please seek counseling ASAP so that your relationship with her can be as happy and stress-free as possible!

jedi_timmy21 karma

I'm also IVF donor conceived ( unfortunately I have no way of ever finding my anon donor dad or potential half siblings due to Australian gov restrictions and lack of documentation in the early-mid 1980s ) and I just wanted to tell you this is really cool to see and read.

Did meeting some of your half-siblings or your dad, reconcile a lot of feelings (i.e. loneliness, confusion, isolation) for you and do you feel different about yourself now that you know them? How close are you with your half-siblings?

modernvintage34 karma


First, I just wanted to address the idea that you cannot find your family — you may not be able to go through the banks but you can absolutely still find them! DNA test, and join facebook groups of "DNA detectives!" They're people whose free time is spent helping adoptees, donor conceived individuals, and others searching for biological family build mirror trees and track people down. You may not be able to go through the banks or the government, but you can absolutely find them!

Meeting them definitely reconciled a lot of feelings — I understood where my personality, my interests, and my face came from. I felt like in a way I'd always known, and my heart had always been reaching out for them. It gave me some measure of peace to find them. I don't feel differently about who I am, but moreso just self-assured in a way I wasn't before. A funny example, now I know for sure that I can sing and don't have the sneaking suspicion that everyone is just lying to me haha. I'm closer with some than others, but I can absolutely say that they are my best friends and I love them with all my heart. We travel to see each other, go to each others events, and are always there for each other. They're absolutely wonderful.

digdug200116 karma

Do you feel you biological dad owes you anything? Stories like this would make me nervous about donating. "What if 20 kids show up at my door asking for college tuition in 20 years" kinda worried.

modernvintage30 karma

Things like college tuition? Absolutely not.

An accurate medical and family history and answers to questions? Definitely.

If having a relationship with your biological children makes you nervous, you shouldn't be a donor!

Parkinmyyard16 karma

Hey there!

I was also conceived from an anonymous sorry donor and raised in a heterosexual family like you.

What are your opinions on sperm donation? I deeply resent the way I was conceived and urge people took towards adoption instead.

modernvintage17 karma


I don't see it as wholly unethical in theory, and given the right regulations and restrictions, but in its current form in the US both in regard to how banks & doctors & the government handle donation and how recipient parents handle telling their children I find a lot of it to be unethical.

I also believe that not having biological children is perhaps the best thing we can do for the planet and environment, and that adoption is incredible and SO important and preferable, but I do understand that some folks have an intense drive for biological children and that for LGBT folks especially that's impossible without the aid of a donor.

I would encourage people to try and use known donors where possible, and if not, only use identity release donors. I would also encourage the US to take the steps that Australia has taken in banning anonymous donation and retroactively releasing the identities of donors.

So many of us have such negative outcomes and I think a lot needs to change to become more offspring-focused as opposed to parent-focused in order to prevent that for the next generation.

RevRagnarok15 karma

How do you feel about Delivery Man?

modernvintage9 karma

I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s definitely on my list now!!

JohnSacrimoni14 karma

Of all your half-siblings, what’s the least (and most) amount of DNA you and them share?

modernvintage26 karma

This is a fun question! So not everyone has tested, of those who have, the most I share is with one of my sisters at 32.2% and the lowest is 21.8%.

JohnSacrimoni7 karma

Wow thanks— it’s incredible that there’s such a wide range. And especially when it’s as high as 32.2% (which to my knowledge is pretty rare for a half-sibling but I could be wrong).

modernvintage12 karma

It's definitely rare! At that percentage, it's more likely that we'd be full siblings actually, and even crazier, we've got two people who share 32.9%!

Cat_Island11 karma

In another comment you mentioned that a few of your half siblings went to high school together before knowing they were related- were any of them friends? It would be crazy to find out your good friend was your sibling!

What was the most surprising trait you shared with a half sibling? For instance, was there something you always thought only you did, like a particular way of jiggling your foot when you’re nervous or something, that one of them also does?

modernvintage15 karma

I'm not sure how close they were, but they definitely knew each other and I think were casual friends!

This is fun, we share so much but one of the craziest ones that we all just realized was that a few of us and our donor inherited (we think) the trait that almost everyone in Korea has but that only 2% of Europeans have that results in us just not producing BO ever! I also make the exact same puffing-my-cheeks-out face as a couple of my siblings!

mercury3311 karma

Do you know your bio dad's intention for donating? Do you think he expected to have as many biological children as he did? As someone with a very small family I think it's fascinating you have so many new family members now.

modernvintage17 karma

My boyfriend actually comes from a VERY small family too, so it's been sorta fun watching how he interacts with everyone!

I'm not sure if he expected quite this many of us, but his intention for donating was to help lesbian couples and single mothers!

TheElk1911 karma

I am also a sperm donor baby, how do you find out about your half siblings?

modernvintage13 karma

Hi! We've found most of ours through 23andMe and Ancestry, and a few through the Donor Sibling Registry and through the banks themselves!

Lilwooddude9 karma

Are you all from roughly the same area (Ie. Midwest, etc.)?

modernvintage14 karma

This is a fun question and is the first time I've seen it so far!

We actually come from everywhere from California to Arizona to Kentucky to New York to London!

joshmoviereview9 karma

Hey OP, I was also a sperm donor conceived baby. I signed up for 23and me but unfortunately have yet to find anyone from my sperm donor's side. The company that provided the service to my mom shut down shortly after I was born. Do you have other tactics you've tried to track down half-siblings that you would recommend? Thank you

modernvintage11 karma

I'm sorry about not finding anyone on 23andMe yet, that's a bummer. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

I would recommend testing on other sites, primarily ancestry, as a first resource. If that doesn't yield anything, I found everyone by looking up my donor's ID number on the Donor Sibling Registry and then comparing the registered usernames with other social media sites! I would also recommend joining DNA search facebook groups and asking for a search angel to help you — even with third and fourth cousin matches, they can help try to find your donor!


As the child of a sperm donor, I’m struggling with deciding what relationship I want with my half siblings and donor. How have you managed this? Are you close with some or all?

modernvintage10 karma

This has also been a struggle for me in regards to my donor.

What I've come to realize is that every relationship is unique and it's important to set and maintain the boundaries that you're comfortable with. I'm in contact with my donor, but he and I certainly don't regularly chat outside of the group chats or have as close or as paternal of a relationship as he does with some of my other siblings. I'm definitely really close with some of them, I try and let things evolve naturally, and it helps me to remember that I don't have to decide right now, or be as close as I'm ever going to be with people right now. These aren't just friendships, this is family, and we have the rest of our lives to figure this out so take it slow if that's what's comfortable!

Take it slow, take breathers when you need, remember that this can be such a positive thing but that in order for it to be that, you have to respect your own feelings. You got this!

GrubJin8 karma

I'm in the same boat. Got some 22+ half-siblings with another 2 full siblings.

Do you refer to your half-siblings as 'brother' or 'sister'? I don't feel comfortable doing it with mine.

modernvintage6 karma

This is one that's different for everyone, but for me, I just call them brothers or sisters unless specifically explaining the genetic relationship!

hornwalker8 karma

I’m a donor with quite a few confirmed births, but it was about 10-12 years ago. When should I expect to hear from them?

modernvintage8 karma

That depends on if your information is on DNA testing sites (please consider putting it up!), but I would say in the next six to eight years!

meepliepeep7 karma

Hi! This has been an amazing AMA to read as someone who only learned about being donor-conceived a few years ago.

I recently found out via 23andMe that I have two half-sisters. As an only child, I’m over the moon excited to know I have siblings. However, I’m nervous about reaching out to them. Do you have any advice about how best to establish contact?

modernvintage6 karma

Hi I'm so excited for you and your new sisters!! Always lovely to meet other DC folks. :)

Reaching out is always terrifying, especially with DNA sites because you're unsure if they know they're donor conceived or not. I always start really gently and introduce myself, and ask them if they expected to find half-siblings when testing or not, and if they respond and they hadn't, I usually tell them they should talk to their parents — I always find it's good to let people give their parents a chance to explain.

SleepyNoodles7 karma


From an ethical stand point how do you feel about LGBT folk using sperm donors to conceive? From an Australian perspective - the adoption process is difficult and lengthy and if using overseas adoption (from countries that have adoption agreements with Aus) could potentially be more expensive than a donor.

The accessibility of donors appears easier than adoption and assuming there are no fertility issues - garenteed.

I worry that bringing a child into a same-sex couple via a donor is selfish and not in the best interests of the child. The idea of choosing the child's genetic traits from a list of donors just doesn't sit right with me.

After learning you were donor-conceived did you feel resentment towards your social parents? Do you feel displaced in your identity? Does having so many half siblings that you'll never know make you feel 'incomplete' somehow?

modernvintage10 karma

Hi! Thank you so much for bringing up the LGBTQ community, it's such a huge and important piece of this puzzle. I don't think that LGBTQ couples are any more likely than heterosexual couples to make the wrong choices when it comes to using a donor, but should be counseled and educated about donor conception in the same way beforehand and, also like hetero couples, should absolutely not use an anonymous donor.
I think that it can become selfish when the parents' interests are placed above those of the child, but again, I don't think that's a problem unique to same-sex couples.

I don't feel any resentment toward my social parents for the way I was conceived. I do feel a bit of frustration over being punished for traits that they knew I would have, but didn't tell me why I had, growing up, and a bit of anger over not being told sooner.

Not knowing how many siblings I have, and knowing that I will never know for sure, absolutely breaks my heart.

Kranglz7 karma

My girlfriend is also donor-conceived, and I’m just wondering, when did you find out who your biological father was and how did your first contact with him go?

modernvintage12 karma

I found out last February, and we Facetimed for a few hours a couple days later & it went well! It was very interesting getting to see my facial expressions on a stranger haha.

Kranglz9 karma

That’s awesome. Unfortunately my girlfriend found her bio dad a few months ago and reached out to him without much success. She has found one half-sister and I can definitely see the resemblance! I have to agree it’s weird seeing some of her facial features on someone neither of us have met before.

modernvintage7 karma

Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. I've heard of many donors coming around, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for her.

WeaponsHot6 karma

I'm an ivf baby from an anonymous donor. I know I have half-siblings out there. But I don't know how to start finding them. How!?

modernvintage11 karma

Hi hi hi! Start with DNA testing on Ancestry & 23andMe!! It's your best shot for finding folks, if that doesn't immediately yield your donor or any siblings, I would seek out a search angel via facebook DNA search groups!

The_Real_MPC3 karma

Have you met any of your half-siblings in person? What is the age range of them (are you on the younger end)?

modernvintage6 karma

I've met 7 of them in person! Not including my donor's children, we run from 19-25 currently & I'm right in the middle, which can be weird after growing up the oldest child!

theroguex3 karma

Lol why does the Donor's religion matter?

modernvintage10 karma

Also have thought this was weird, but I think it's in part because certain religions (particularly Judaism) have a genetic component.

TastyMuffy3 karma

Did your parents select a donor that is closer to then in appearance or someone different?

modernvintage10 karma

They picked a donor who shared physical traits with my social father (brown hair, blue eyes), who shared a blood type with him, and whose sense of humor they liked!

aerostotle2 karma

those are your actual glasses? not a snapchat filter?

modernvintage5 karma

Those are in fact my actual glasses, it's funny, about seven of my siblings have the wire frames now lmao

Staxcellence2 karma

My partner and I will require a donor in order to have children and a subject we continue to discuss is whether to have an anonymous versus known donor. Can you briefly list the pros and cons of each - from the perspective of a child of donation?

Thanks in advance!

modernvintage9 karma


This is going to be a quick one, as I don't believe there is a single positive to an anonymous donor. A known or identity release donor allows your child to have a relationship with their biological parent, their siblings, an accurate medical history and ancestry, and is absolutely in the child's best interest. Anonymous donation is banned in most countries, and I would ask that you deeply and thoughtfully seek out donor-conceived perspectives and no longer consider an anonymous donor for the well-being of your child!

bromanclature2 karma

Do you have any plans for a family reunion?

modernvintage6 karma


We had a big family reunion in 2016 before I was around, and we're actually having another this June out West. We're all really excited for it!

kanadia822 karma

Do you wish you had known at an earlier age? Did any of your half-siblings get to know your biodad before turning 18?

Thanks for sharing!

modernvintage4 karma

Hi! Nobody knew him before turning 18, but a few of them met him at 18!

I do wish I had been told earlier — I'll always feel like I missed out on so much time and so many adventures with my siblings.

blaseblaseblah1 karma

Do you play magic the gathering? Or is your username simply a coincidence with some of the game's formats?

modernvintage1 karma

Definitely a coincidence, but that's cool to know!

Hazytea019-2 karma

This is an amazing story and thank you for sharing. My question is, what's it like growing up as a man with a woman's name?

modernvintage3 karma

I'm not sure if this is meant to be an insult about my appearance, but I'm definitely a woman!

Chaosritter-14 karma

Who's your daddy?

modernvintage16 karma

Ew 0/10