Four years ago, a phone call turned Ken Allen’s life upside down.
Ken, a now-retired teacher, was on his lunch break in late 2014 when he received an unexpected call from an IVF clinic.
Before the call, he had four children. After the call, he was father to 15.
Ken and his wife Sue, from South Australia, have been married for 36 years. Together they have three biological children and one adopted daughter.
Speaking to Sunday Night, Ken said his donor journey began in the late 70s. He was studying to be a midwife and witnessed many families who struggled to conceive, so he asked Sue her thoughts on him becoming a donor.
Sue worked at the same hospital and had similar interactions with families, so she did not hesitate in supporting him.
Ken made multiple anonymous donations over two months. The information a potential couple would receive about Ken was very limited.
In a section asking donors about their philosophy on life, Ken wrote “Man cannot discover oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
“I knew that there was a possibility that my donor offspring may in the future get a hold of this, and I really wanted it to encourage them to pursue their dreams, and also to perhaps pursue me,” he told Sunday Night.
But even so, Ken never expected contact. Everything was kept anonymous and donors were never informed about whether any pregnancies had come from their donations.
Decades later, Ken received a call to tell him he had 11 donor children – two girls and nine boys. One of the daughters was looking for him.