A mother describes the experience of discovering and meeting her children’s half sibling.

I am a single mother with twin daughters conceived through anonymous donor sperm. The donor sperm was sourced from an American sperm bank. I chose to import sperm rather than use local sperm because at the time that I wanted to conceive there was a scarcity of donor sperm in the UK. Also, once I started looking at the donor information being supplied in the US, I was pleasantly surprised to find that quite a lot of information regarding the donor’s personality, interests, education and family background was generally available. I was lucky in conceiving at the first attempt and early in 2001 my daughters were born.
When my daughters were about two years old, I came across a website called the Donor Sibling Registry. The website is what its name suggests. A forum for donor offspring to be registered so that half-siblings ie offspring of the same donor can connect together.
On 11 April 2003 I registered my twin daughters’ donor details on the Donor Sibling Registry. I listed some of the most identifying details of the donor and his donor ID number. At the time I registered I felt quite excited about the prospects of what I was doing; but within a couple of weeks I had stopped thinking about it.

Then on 31 May 2003 I logged in to my emails and I got a massive heart-stopping surprise. A message displayed my daughters’donor ID number. I opened the email to find out that my children had a
half-brother aged five. I quickly responded to the email and within an hour I had received a photo of a little boy who looked so much like my oldest daughter that I literally gasped in amazement. Over
the next few weeks I exchanged regular emails and photos. After a month I was speaking by phone with the family of the half-sibling.
In October my daughters sent birthday gifts to their half-brother and at Christmas we received cards and presents. In March 2004 we started making plans to meet and the other family offered to travel
to London to meet us. In the first week of June 2004 we all met.
The other family travelled from the US and declined my offer to stay with us. They instead opted to stay at a central London hotel. We only met three times during the course of a week but it was truly wonderful and very enjoyable. Prior to the first meeting I was very nervous and full of trepidation. I was somewhat worried that I might be opening the door to allow intrusion into my cosy family life. I
felt that it was important for my daughters’ be able to meet a half-sibling but I was not at all sure that I really wanted to see him or his family. However, once I agreed to the meeting I set about trying to make it successful. I cooked a cordon bleu meal and bought my daughters new party dresses. We prepared a wall sized welcome poster and I bought a little robot to give to their half-brother.
The robot broke the ice! The kids were all terribly excited by it and immediately started playing together. We adults looked on and our conversation revolved around the children. The food was great, the drinks flowed and we ended up spending a long sunny afternoon at the park. A couple of days later we spent the day at the zoo together. That day was spectacularly successful since all the children shared a great interest in animals and they bonded very well. At the last meeting all the children were photographed at my daughters’ nursery. It was the annual photo day and the note had said that siblings were welcome. After the photos we went to a playground and bid goodbye over a meal.
Since the visit my daughters have talked a lot about their “brother” and enjoy looking at the photos from his trip. I have been told by his parents’ that he kisses his “sisters” photos before he goes to bed and includes them in his prayers. We talk regularly on the phone and the children love to speak to each other. We still don’t know each other very well but we do feel like family. Best of all, we like and get on with each other!