Being Women

How Many Children Does The Same Father Sperm -Donor Have?

'These are all the kids that have the same sperm donor father. So, technically they are all half-siblings.' she excitedly reported.

‘Mom, Bye !!’

She yelled into the phone and frustratedly tossed it onto the teetering pile of paperwork on her very messy desk.

‘I’m telling you, I’m going to end up in the mental asylum because of my kids and mom!’, Margie fumed!

Knowing her over-the-top personality, and a wicked sense of humour, I simply gave her an amused smile. And I went back to the patient documentation on the computer at my desk.

She looked at me with one eyebrow lifted and challenged me, ‘You think I am joking!? I am so not!’

It was clear, she wanted to talk.

I rolled my chair over to her desk. ‘What’s up Margie? Is everything okay?’

‘Oh! Where do I begin!? You’ve met my 4-year-old, Sara haven’t you? She is my mini-me! She has the same personality!’

She paused for effect, with an eye roll.

‘Sara is driving my mom nuts! The two of them are at loggerheads, again. I’m witnessing history repeating itself, right in front of my eyes! And, then there is my 12-year-old Sean who is a sweetheart otherwise, but not to be left behind in this mad circus!’

She and I, worked together in the same school for disabled children as therapists.

Margie was an exceptional Speech-Language Therapist, well-loved by teachers, parents, kids, and all of us therapists, alike. She was a hard worker, with a fire-brand personality and a big, generous heart.

I knew she was a single mother, and that her mom helped her with looking after the children when she was at work. They all lived together in one house.

‘Is everything okay at home?’ I asked, not wanting to intrude too much.

‘We always have exciting things going on! Sean broke his foot, so now he’s home for two weeks. And, he’s bored out of his mind! He doesn’t sleep at night complaining about something or the other, keeping me awake. And, then he picks a fight with Sara, when he has nothing else to do. And, mom calls me at work to tell me about it!’

I could see her distress was real, but I could just imagine the whole scene in my mind!
‘How did he fracture the foot? Did it happen in karate?’ I inquired.
She rolled her eyes as she replied, ‘You’d think, right!? I would understand if it happened in karate! The kid climbed a 4-foot snowdrift, and jumped off of it as he was getting out of the school bus! I’m telling you, I was ready to kill him as we drove to the Hospital Emergency Room!’
‘ Oh no, poor kid! I am so sorry!’ is all I could say.
‘It sounds so funny, right!? My life is a freaking zoo!’ she burst out laughing as she said that. Hearing her contagious laugh, I did too!
‘This too shall pass.’ I squeezed her shoulder.
Her face softened, ‘I know. I am only half-serious. I have two good kids. Sean is such a caring big brother and a huge help to me. It’s just that it is overwhelming without a partner to parent with, you know. Sean’s dad, my ex is chilling in jail for some petty stuff. He’s never been of help, anyway!’
I didn’t know how to react to this sudden revelation.
‘Yep! And, Sara has no dad since I used a sperm donor to conceive her.’ She nonchalantly mentioned.
‘Oh!’ is all I could say.
She gave out her trademark loud guffaw as she saw my expression.
I simply stared at her, with a big question mark on my face.
‘You know that I am not a person who walks on the trodden path. So, when Sean turned 7, I realized that he needed a sibling. And, I didn’t have a man in my life to make it happen at that time. My biological clock was ticking. I was in my early 40s. I couldn’t wait any longer. So, I decided I would use a sperm donor!’
So surprised was I, that I simply looked at Margie, tongue-tied.

‘ Wait! Let me show you something neat!’

She went looking for the phone she’d thrown away just a few moments back.

She pulled up a page on Facebook, and began to show me pictures of cute little girls and boys. Many of the girls looked so much like her daughter Sara. I was perplexed, not sure what I was looking at.

‘These are all the kids that have the same sperm donor father. So, technically they are all half-siblings.’ she excitedly reported.

Now I had a storm of questions spinning in my head when I heard this.

‘But how do you know they have the same sperm donor? Isn’t that information confidential?’ I queried.

She smiled, ‘Yes, it is! But a ‘detective’ mom in one of our support group -chat rooms, uncovered this. Once you know the name of the sperm bank, and you have the sperm donor number, it’s easy to figure the rest out. ‘

She continued,’ The donor has no legal claim on the children, and has no responsibility for the children he spawns. We don’t know his name. His identity is anonymous. But the sperm bank is required to give us the donor number and his medical, and genetic history, to secure our children’s health and future.’

I was blown away by all that was coming my way.

I could just imagine a young dude, some healthy, college student possibly in his 20s, with good genes and robust health, donating sperm for some extra money, not knowing how many children he had fathered.


I had seen at least a dozen children in the picture she’d shown me.

‘We’ve traced 30 children so far! Those who have chosen to come together, that is. Some wish to keep their privacy, and that’s fine too. All I want is my Sara knows about this. Whether these children remain in each others’ lives will be a choice that they make as they get older. But, with genetic science moving at such a fast pace, it’s always a good idea to have people who share your DNA, in your life, you know.’

Her explanation made sense, although I was reeling with all the information.

‘Does your son know that his sister has a different ‘father’, or technically no father to be more precise!?’

She nodded her head vigorously.

‘He’s known about this since the day Sara was born. Sean is very mature for his age. And, I couldn’t be a luckier mom to see the love he was for his little sister!’

I was so happy to hear that.

‘You know I was fortunate to have Sean, so my Sara is a bonus blessing in our life. But some couples cannot conceive for medical reasons. Some single women wish to be parents but don’t have a partner, like me. Or, some homosexual women want to have their own child. Isn’t having the option of a sperm donor such an amazing hope to have?’

I felt so honoured to have this conversation with her.

Margie was smiling now.

She’d gone from being red hot just like her flaming hair, spewing lava, to cooling down into a blue ocean of love!

Just then, her phone rang again, waking her up from the sweet reverie.

She looked at the screen to see who it was, and rolled her eyes heaven-wards!

I peeked a glance at the screen and burst out laughing!

The caller ID name said, ‘The Zoo’!

‘What now!? Mom, stop calling me! I’m at work!’

And, so began yet another round of duel! 🙂

As she walked away talking animatedly over the phone, I felt like a train had hit me, a hundred miles a minute!

I realized there is so much in this world we can never imagine, right?

Motherhood comes in all different forms.

And for me, being cognizant of that makes for a richer, diverse, and interesting world to inhabit.

By Swaroopa Gadgil

Swaroopa Gadgil is a Physical Therapist and a Yoga Teacher, who lives near the Jersey Shore. She is a multi-passionate nature lover, immersed in Art, Yoga, Writing, and Photography. Swaroopa loves to share the experiences she has lived through; people she has encountered in her professional practice through writing and art. She can be contacted at

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