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  • My mom

  • is about to meet my dad

  • for the first time.

  • I grew up with two moms,

  • Kathleen and Betsy.

  • And I really don't

  • miss having a dad

  • because they both

  • completed a different area

  • of me.

  • This is the family.

  • My sister, Sarah, and I have always just had each other.

  • And I love Sarah to pieces.

  • I always knew that I was donor conceived.

  • We were imagining you

  • 18 years from now

  • meeting this guy

  • and we wanted you to like him.

  • I don't think

  • I ever

  • imagined that there could be so many siblings.

  • I thought maybe if I'm lucky I'll find one

  • or two.

  • I think we're still trying to

  • feel around

  • and figure out how we're family.

  • It's

  • completely uncharted territory.

  • We're going to go visit Carolyn,

  • my half sister.

  • Carolyn was the first sibling that I made contact with.

  • So I guess she's just the introduction,

  • my introduction to the donor sibling world.

  • Carolyn!

  • What up, what up?

  • Your haircut, when did that happen?

  • That happened like a month ago.

  • I love it.

  • Thank you.

  • It's adorable.

  • When I was growing up, I thought that

  • maybe I have donor siblings.

  • But then your mom was the first person to contact me!

  • So that was the like first time I was like:

  • 'Oh, I have a donor sibling!

  • And it's you!'

  • So I thought it was just 19 of us,

  • and then Sam popped up,

  • and we were like,

  • 'Oh, Sam is another one we didn't know about.'

  • There's definitely 20 of us.

  • And my mom has an Excel spreadsheet.

  • She does?

  • Yeah, with everybody that we have to date

  • and their parents and contact info.

  • This is the sperm pipette...

  • is that the word? -

  • that my mother used.

  • And here you can see that it says 1317.

  • I guess she got this on June 6 of 1995

  • So she used a little vial and

  • syringe to self-inseminate,

  • and it came in the mail, it was frozen, she said

  • that she warmed it up like so.

  • I found out my mom was actually in contact

  • my entire childhood

  • and even before I was born with other moms.

  • Now that I'm 18, the rest of us are also adults.

  • We have established our own relationships with each other.

  • She had these probably in her freezer for four to five months before she decided:

  • today's the day that I'm going to get pregnant.

  • Donor 1317 was originally approved for donation in November 1993,

  • since the release of his semen,

  • we have achieved six confirmed pregnancies.

  • The donor continues to be healthy.

  • That is so medical and scientific!

  • This necklace, it says 1-3-1-7.

  • And my moms gave it to me

  • for my 18th birthday.

  • And I think the number represents less of

  • the donor 1-3-1-7 and more of my moms

  • and my half siblings and that - just my family,

  • it's all different parts of my family.

  • When we were starting this process first of all

  • there were two known sperm banks we were aware of,

  • both in California, that had a known donor programme.

  • So this is the questionnaire we got from the sperm bank

  • about your donor.

  • 'Why do you want to be a sperm donor?'

  • 'Besides the money, which was definitely an incentive since I am strapped for cash,

  • I think that it would be a very rewarding experience.

  • If I never have kids then I would want to know

  • that I have given that opportunity to another couple.'

  • 'Which option did you choose?'

  • 'Identity release.'

  • 'And explain why you chose this option.'

  • 'It may be interesting to meet my unknown child to see what effects

  • environmental and genetic have played a role in his or her development.'

  • 'If we could pass a message to the recipient of your semen, what would that message be?'

  • 'Hold your head high and be considerate of others.'

  • I mean he just seems like a really nice guy.

  • so that's why we chose him.

  • We were imagining you

  • 18 years from now meeting this guy

  • and we wanted you to like him

  • and, yeah

  • think he was a good guy, so that was kind of our process.

  • You glad we picked him?

  • I mean yeah!

  • I love you.

  • I love you, too.

  • You're so special.

  • Kathleen and I got together when we were 23 years old.

  • So we were quite young at the time.

  • She was the kind of person that would walk in the room

  • and light it up.

  • Oh my gosh mom, you're so young.

  • Thank you? I think.

  • Not that you're old now, but like

  • for the three months that she lived

  • after her diagnosis,

  • she did more living than most people do

  • in a decade - if not more.

  • Julia, this was when we were on vacation,

  • a week before your mummy died.

  • And she played the song she'd learned,

  • she taught herself to play the ukulele

  • in the last two months of her life and

  • played the song for the whole family.

  • Love you girls.

  • You ok?

  • Kathleen was very insistent on making sure

  • that we used the sperm bank of California,

  • because we were allowed to have a 'Known Donor Programme' from that.

  • We didn't have any rights to the donor,

  • and he didn't have any rights to us, either.

  • Julia was the only person that could make contact.

  • Julia was born in 1999 in January,

  • and she was conceived

  • five months before Google was founded.

  • So there was no chance in our minds

  • that any of the diblings would ever be part of the picture.

  • It wasn't that we didn't want them, it just never crossed our mind.

  • Oh honey pie, I love you so much.

  • I love you, too.

  • Have a great trip

  • and I want to hear all about it when you get home.

  • We are on the road to Syracuse, New York,

  • where I'm going to meet up

  • with three of my siblings,

  • George, Mari and Samantha.

  • And I've met George before,

  • and I haven't met Mari or Samantha.

  • What's up!

  • Hi.

  • I'm Mari.

  • Do you see what I mean?

  • I think they look so similar.

  • The eyes.

  • Yeah.

  • Yeah and the nose and the bone structure.

  • Already?

  • And your nose.

  • I have small hands.

  • I have huge hands.

  • I have bigger hands than my brother.

  • We have the exact same size hands.

  • I never really wondered about

  • the fact that I might have these half siblings -

  • diblings.

  • I like more calling them like sisters and brothers,

  • because I'm trying to get more used to the fact that they are like my sisters and brothers.

  • Now it's really become a much bigger part

  • of this whole sperm donor story to me than

  • the father aspect of it.

  • It's so grody that other people's parents had to have sex.

  • I was a double donor conception,

  • which means that a donor egg and then

  • a donor sperm was used.

  • I felt very alien, I felt very like

  • in a hole,

  • and 50 years ago I wouldn't have been able to exist at all.

  • I felt like I was kind of forced on to the earth a little bit.

  • It wasn't natural at all.

  • There was a period that I was just

  • I wished I hadn't been born in this way,

  • really at all.

  • And I almost kind of blamed her,

  • because I knew that she wanted a child so bad.

  • People don't report when the pregnancies are successful.

  • So the sperm banks don't get a lot of information in return from the families

  • apparently there's a problem with

  • lack of regulation around that or something.

  • I don't know, should they have 20-something kids?

  • Sperm donation is around to stay.

  • So, for someday it might only be this.

  • We don't know the future of any of that.

  • I really want to get to know you better. I'm down to be like a brother.

  • I want you guys too. There's a lot, you know?

  • Welcome to the family kind of thing.

  • We're not brothers and sisters in name only,

  • I kind of want to make it more than that.

  • I think it's definitely possible to have a few

  • people, or a lot of people maybe, even,

  • if I'm good with time management,

  • who I can have really deep relationships with

  • who feel like my brother and sister.

  • I think it's important to do something

  • every once in a while with these people

  • to grow these connections.

  • I don't think it necessarily has to be something

  • where you need to talk to them all the time,

  • or even having one person that you talk to all the time

  • because we're not accustomed to that in our lives,

  • but I think that this can be a family.

  • And I'm really excited about that.

  • My half sister came up to me and gave me a

  • hug today,

  • and I was the first blood relative she's ever touched

  • and it's a Thursday.

  • Just a random Thursday.

  • The whole experience is always shocking and

  • bewildering, but in a really beautiful way.

  • And really touching way.

  • Hugging George, it was like,

  • I don't know, a strange sort of homecoming,

  • it was like someone I should've been hugging throughout my childhood but never did.

  • I wish I could've told younger me about this day.

  • I wish I could go back and tell her that you'll find them.

  • You'll find those people that understand.

  • It'll definitely

  • keep me warm for a very long time, you know?

  • We're still figuring out how family works,

  • and how our family works.

  • I don't know where we are in that, but I like

  • where it is. Wherever it is, I like it.

  • Really only about 3-5% of all potential donors

  • actually become donors. It's kind of an exclusive club.

  • So these are the samples

  • and they're attached to canes, like this.

  • And we just lay them here.

  • We limit the number of vials that we allow a donor to produce.

  • If we allow a donor to collect 500 vials,

  • If you do some calculations,

  • that would be approximately between 10 and 15 pregnancies.

  • It's not what I expected, I expected it to be some

  • crazy, scientific,

  • all these people with masks on,

  • running everywhere, and kind of scary, but it's very normal.

  • If we go down the hallway this way

  • is our collection room.

  • It's basically just a sink, the chair, the proverbial stack of magazines.

  • I don't know if I want to imagine this part.