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'My husband told me he donated sperm as a one-off. Then he got 11 phone calls.'

As told to Ann DeGrey

Aaron* and I met through mutual friends and, even though I was dating another man at the time, our friendship quickly became romantic. We both broke up with our partners to be together; it was just unavoidable even though we hurt two good people.

It really was amazing relationship back then, we had so much in common and spent hours talking. The chemistry between us was insanely passionate, and I knew I had found someone special.

A couple of years later we were engaged and then, shortly before our wedding, I fell pregnant with our first daughter. Life was close to perfect when we welcomed two more daughters and managed to purchase our first home. We didn't have too much to stress about.

When we were dating, Aaron had told me about a time when he was in his early 20s when he donated sperm to a sperm bank. He mentioned it casually, saying, "I did it once. There's a chance one day, someone might show up saying they're my biological child." He told me he ticked the box giving the child permission to contact him when they were older. It was a strange thought, but I loved Aaron and trusted him. We built a beautiful life together, raising our three girls, and I became very consumed with everything to do with motherhood.

Watch: Why do men donate sperm? Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/London Sperm Bank.

Years passed, and that conversation faded into the background until one evening, our world was turned upside down. Aaron came home, looking pale and anxious. He sat me down and said, "I've been contacted by someone claiming to be my biological child." My heart skipped a beat, but I tried to stay calm. "Remember when I told you about donating sperm? Well, I didn't tell you the whole story. It turns out I donated twenty times, not once. And because I gave permission for contact, eleven young adults have reached out."

I was stunned. Eleven children? How the hell did this happen? He told me he only donated once! I felt confused as well as betrayed. Aaron had lied to me, and now our lives were tangled up in the web of his past decisions.

I understood it was a decision he made when he was young, but he should have told me the truth. I tried very hard to process what he was saying. I tried to be reasonable and not just get over-emotional, but it felt like the ground had been pulled from under me.

Our children, all under 10, were playing and giggling in the next room, with no idea of the storm that had started to brew. I worried about how this would impact them. Would they understand? Would they feel less loved or confused about their place in our family?

Then things got worse when Aaron went a step further, telling me he intended to meet all of his children.

"They deserve to know who I am, and I feel a responsibility towards them," he said. For once, I didn't know what to say. Part of me understood his desire to connect with these young adults, but another part of me felt deeply hurt and scared about what this meant for our family.

I tried to be supportive, as I knew this was confronting for Aaron as well, but the situation gnawed at me. I barely slept, lying awake at night, wondering how we would navigate this new reality. Aaron and I argued more than ever before—this was entirely his fault as he had fractured the trust between us.

He apologised to me over and over again, saying he wished he'd told me the truth from the start. He just never imagined this would happen. He really thought that, at the most, he might have one or two children from his sperm donation.

Our girls sensed the tension, asking what was wrong with us. We just lied through our teeth. I mean, what could I say? That they have 11 half siblings to meet someday?

Aaron has now met six of his biological children one at a time. He told me some were curious and excited, while others were more reserved. I offered to come along for moral support, but he wanted to be alone. I felt like an outsider in my own life.

Then one day, Aaron asked me to join him for a meeting with his daughter, Emily*, who was the sweetest girl and looked very much like our girls – that felt incredibly strange to me.

The meeting went well and we will stay in touch with her. When she met Aaron, she hugged him and cried. She said, "Thank you for seeing me. I just wanted to know where I come from." Her words hit me hard. These young adults weren't trying to disrupt our lives; they were searching for their own sense of identity.

For some reason, the meeting with Emily had a huge impact on me. As we drove home, I cried. These poor kids didn't ask to be born and certainly didn't ask to be the result of a sperm donation.

We are still figuring things out. Every day brings new challenges, as our family really is changed forever. Aaron has developed a lovely bond with one of his sons – I haven't met him but I can see from photos that he is a mini-version of Aaron. I've just got to accept the fact that my three daughters now have 11 half-siblings and hope that it all turns out for the best. 

*Names have been changed due to privacy.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

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Feature image: Getty.

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