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In the strange and happy life of Donor 929, emails can mean adventure. Last week, for example, Donor 929 got an email from a teenage girl in Denver. She included a picture of herself in high school graduation cap and gown. She said she’s considering a history major in college. And there was the other thing. The email explained, if he is indeed Donor 929, he is her father. Mike Rubino, an artist from Los Angeles, is known across the United States and beyond as Donor 929. This email contact did not catch him by surprise.
It was the 19th such email or phone call he has received, and there could be more coming, He has 19 photos of smiling children on a shelf in his living room, His sperm has impregnated women in California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Arkansas, Ohio, Colorado and Maryland, Oh, and the Cayman Islands, a British territory, As you get your head around that giant number – 19 children is enough to field two baseball teams with an umpire – you have to realize it’s not giant at all, Some pointe shoe shank sperm donors, the super potent among us, have fathered as many as 200 children, It’s not unusual to reach 150, These are called “offspring groups” or “half-sibling groups,” according to Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry..
Kramer said there is no way of knowing how many donors have produced how many babies in America because parents don’t always report that they have received help in having a child. In 1988, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated that donor insemination produced 30,000 babies in the previous year. Since then, the estimates have doubled. But Kramer warns that those estimates are so flawed as not to be remotely accurate. “Mike is just a really nice guy,” Kramer said. “He’s the kind of guy everybody wishes their donor would be.”.
Her organization has more than 54,000 members and has connected more than 14,000 fathers with their offspring, She said she wouldn’t describe what happens between donors and children as “love.” The donors weren’t parents, They didn’t hold their children during thunderstorms, they didn’t take them to dance practice pointe shoe shank or put money in their college fund, They weren’t there for first steps, first words or first days of school, “I’d say they care about each other,” Kramer said, “They have a very special bond.”..
Rubino enjoys these unexpected emails, the first contact, because it opens his life to so many possibilities. It means awkward recognition at the airport, lunch to discuss personality traits, trips to Disneyland or the La Brea Tar Pits to get to know each other. It means followup visits and building a connection. “I am loving this,” Rubino said. It means, loosely defined as it may be, Donor 929 has a family, just like he always wanted. And once out of 19 offspring, it meant something so much more.
Mike Rubino married in 1985, He worked for awhile at a fossil store selling dinosaur bones, Then he got into real estate, After several years, he and his wife made a decision, “Let’s have a kid,” Rubino remembers saying, “Just one, We knew we could support one.”, Sadly, pregnancy wasn’t happening, His wife had surgical interventions, They attempted in vitro fertilization three times, pointe shoe shank After years of unsuccessful attempts, they started attending a support group for infertile couples, That’s when Mike noticed that half the men in the group had trouble producing sperm..
He, as you may guess, did not fall into that category. “It was an eye-opener,” Rubino said. About the same time, he saw a story about the California Cryobank on television news. They collect, freeze and sell sperm. He talked it over with his wife and decided to donate sperm to help couples like those he had met. Before his first donation, he filled out a form asking if he would like to meet any of his future offspring if they wanted to meet him when they became adults. “I want it clear,” he said, “I want to meet them. I thought it would be awesome. I envisioned these 18-year-old kids knocking on my door, and I would go out to coffee with them.”.
He was paid $50 per donation, and he said he donated as much as twice per week in Westwood for five years, He missed a few sessions, but he donated a lot, If he would have never missed a session, he would have been paid $26,000 for five years of providing sperm, “I was not going to be a dad, but I was going pointe shoe shank to be part of the gene pool,” Rubino said, His marriage ended in divorce in 1995, But his family was just beginning, What Mike Rubino didn’t know at the time was how attractive he was on the sperm market..