Extended family / Family / Family-building

Donor siblings find each other

PHOTO CREDIT: CLAIRE BROWN/TULANE HULLABALOO

PHOTO CREDIT: CLAIRE BROWN/TULANE HULLABALLOO

When Mikayla Stern-Ellis posted a comment on Father’s Day thanking her Colombian sperm donor, Emily Nappi sent a “Me too” that resulted in an amazing discovery. Two friends who found each other via roommate search at Tulane soon learned that they are donor siblings. There’s a story you don’t hear every day.

Check out their story here.

The resemblance is uncanny and the sliding doors that led them to the very same college is downright freaky. What were the odds that these young women, born 7 months apart, would select the same university out of almost 4500 undergraduate programs in the country? How bizarre it is that these two California natives would end up in New Orleans? “I had never even heard of Tulane before receiving the application,” confessed Emily.

Were their paths destined by some donor sibling higher power?  Was it merely a coincidence with lottery-winning odds? If we were to consider all the donor siblings who never meet, who never cross paths as opposed to focusing on this one amazing case, then maybe we would not consider the chances for our own children meeting their donor siblings.

We know they’re out there, but we don’t seek them out. This recent news segment shined a light on a situation we have considered only in the remote cells of our brains. What if they find each other when they’re not even looking?

I am a lurker on The Donor Sibling Registry as I wrote about on National Sibling Day. Every now and then, I check the site to see if there are new families that have used the same donor we used. I hold my breath and select the link and hope that there aren’t 20 or more siblings out there forever connected by anonymous sperm donation. I exhale when I see that no one else has registered, and I go about my day.

After reading this story, I wonder if we should clue them in before they think to ask? Would they welcome their newfound siblings? Would they want to meet people who potentially share physical traits or mannerisms or interests? Would we prevent an ill-fated romance? Or should we leave their meetings up to chance? Perhaps the donor sibling higher power will bring them to each other.  Really, I’d prefer that so that I can go about my day and not think about all the guests we’d have to invite for Thanksgiving.

For those of you in the donor game, is the prospect of meeting donor siblings a source of anxiety or excitement?

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9 Comments

  1. I do that same Hold Your Breath Then Exhale dance on the donor sibling registry too. So far, no listed matches for us. Our issue is that we live in a highly populated lesbian area with a sperm bank just a few towns away. All the local queerspawn we know are born of that bank (other than known donor situations). There’s bound to be a match. In fact, we found out recently that two sets of friends unknowingly used the same donor. From that bank. Of course. Right now, it’s been a bit of a quiet conversation among parents occasionally… but I’m sure it will become more. Just not yet.

    • Wow! That could be really awkward. “Mom, how long have you known?” “Um…..”

    • We are in a similar situation, Casey! I’m waiting for the day that we find out that we’re living within spitting distance from a donor sibling. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

  2. I don’t know how I feel about the whole donor siblings thing and how we will present it to our daughter… But, we have gone on our bank’s page where they have their own sibling registry. We know she has at least 9 other siblings, all with big feet and hands. And then one day one of the other parents posted a picture. The resemblance was uncanny. Took us back a bit. It truly does make you wonder how all our kids are going to feel as they grow up.

    • Wow! Amazing that you have access to all that information. Are you in touch with any of the families, Emily? Now that you have seen the pictures, are you more inclined to reach out or head-in-sand it for now?

  3. We know of 9 donor siblings to our three kids, and have met 3 of them. In fact, one of the moms gave us a vial of sperm that led to our twins (after we’d run out!), and we paid it forward by giving away a vial to another couple using our donor (we’d acquired more…) who are about to give birth to the 13th kid from our donor. We even have a yahoo group where most of us post pics, medical info, etc. We also unknowingly used the same donor as an acquaintance and her wife. Weird stuff. We are approaching it like adoption – being open from the start.

    • Seriously fascinated, Jen! Have you written about your extended donor family on your blog? I’d like to hear more, and I’m guessing others would, too.

      • I haven’t written too much – I should though. We went from pacing our living room and freaking out the night we realized we’d used the same donor as people we knew in Boston, to relaxing and meeting some of the other folks. It’s been a positive experience.

  4. We found one nearby when we were briefly considering trying for another and posted looking for vials. I emailed with the mom for a bit until my husband and I got freaked out and hid again. It makes us anxious, but I do tell the kid that these people are out there and he can eventually meet them if he wants to. But yeah – anxious.

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