Todd Whitehurst, 49, had already gotten to know four of his donor children, but met four others when the group was brought together during a long weekend in Cape Cod last July. according to him, he never expected to meet any of the kids, but as fate would have it, he did.
It was also the first time the eight half-siblings got meet each other. ‘It’s pretty awesome,’ Whitehurst told CBS News after hugging his donor children.
The computer engineer for Google had spotted an ad in his school paper while a Stanford graduate student in 1998 for young men needed for sperm donation. Whitehurst, who has two children of his own from a previous marriage, said he did not have any reservations about donating his sperm.
‘I guess my feeling on it was, the folks who end up going to a sperm bank really want children quite badly,’ he told CBS. ‘Why wouldn’t you want and why wouldn’t you want to help those people out?’
For four years, Whitehurst donated to the same clinic about 400 times and followed the protocol required.
Above is two of his donor children, Sarah Malley (left) and Carey Phelps (right)
He signed the agreement all donors sign to remain anonymous and received a unique donor ID number from the clinic. The families in return, receive only basic information about the donors including their age, ethnicity and birthplace. One single donation at a sperm bank can produce up to 24 sellable vials, and with Whitehursts’ estimated 400 donations, that could have produced 9,600 sellable vials, according to CBS.
Six months before the family gathering, one of his donor children 20-year-old Sarah Malley, learned that she and her twin sister Jenna were donor babies, according to CBS.
Malley contacted Whitehurst through an online database called Donor Sibling Registry and helped organize the family gathering.
She said it was ‘overwhelming’ seeing him when he first walked up.
‘I was worried it would be just like a “Hello, it’s nice to meet you” handshake. We hugged. And that was like a whole big thing,’ she told CBS.
The networking site Donor Sibling Register, founded by Wendy Kramer, was set up for children who want to connect by matching their donor father’s unique ID number.
‘It’s an innate human desire to want to know where we come from,’ Kramer told CBS.