Prolific sperm donor flies to Seattle to meet several of his children
SEATAC, Wash. (KOMO) - It's a one-of-a-kind family reunion between a sperm donor and some of his children. They decided to get together in Seattle this year and KOMO News was there to meet them at Sea-Tac Airport.
Five half-siblings met up with donor Todd Whitehurst. He was a sperm donor while in graduate school at Stanford University.
On Friday he explained why he did what he did.
"People who are ultimately desperate to go to sperm bank want kids badly. They've gone through a lot of trouble, a lot of effort, a lot of paperwork and expense, and you know they are going love those kids and take care of them. And I thought, 'Why wouldn't I want to help families like that?'" said Whitehurst.
Every year, Whitehurst meets up with more of his kids in a different city to get to know them better. Last year, he and his kids gathered in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He met face to face with three sons he had never seen before. This Fourth of July holiday weekend, the reunion with his college-age kids is in Seattle.
Whitehurst met up with twins Sarah and Jenna Malley from New Jersey and 21-year-old Gavin Shuler, who flew in from Pennsylvania.
Carey Virginia Phillips and Kelly DeWeese flew up from California.
"I love getting together with my family here," said Shuler.
Shuler and the Malley sisters arrived early and waited around for the others.
"I think we are all so pumped," said Sarah Malley.
It was absolute joy and jubilation when Whitehurst arrived with Phillips from California. And then DeWeese arrived. It was the first time everyone met DeWeese, but they all hugged intensely, sharing that unbeatable family bond.
"It's crazy. It's definitely like looking into four mirrors at once! We kind of look the same," said DeWeese.
And that's not all that they have in common. They all share the same sense of humor. The same pale skin. The same sweet tooth.
"A similar sense of humor, similar taste in food, in music. It's really surprising," said Whitehurst.
Many of the kids say they share similar traits with their biological father. Shuler said he has an insatiable curiosity about things. Whitehurst is a physician and electrical engineer in the Bay Area. Several of the kids are studying chemistry. One is studying chemical engineering. One just graduated with a degree in computer science. And another is studying literature, writing and publishing.
Whitehurst was contacted by the Donor Sibling Registry and started meeting the donor-conceived kids years ago.
"I love it. It's so enriching! So fun. I love seeing my kids. They're so wonderful. They're so nice, at least for the first few hours!" joked Whitehurst.
He met the Malley sisters just last year.
"It was a whirlwind of a year for us, especially since we only met him a year ago," said Sarah Malley.
Even though Whitehurst did not raise his donor-conceived kids, the Malley twins said "he's still a close member of our family." And they describe him to be much like "a cool, fun uncle."
Just a fraction of the siblings are at this year's reunion. There's soon to be a total of 25 siblings worldwide -- all thanks to Whitehurst.
No word where next year's reunion will be. But it will most likely include new siblings.