After becoming a sperm donor, Tim Gullicksen wanted to get to know his donor kids. Now he invites them all out to a lake in California every summer.
When Tim Gullicksen began donating to a sperm bank in 1989, he never expected to meet his biological children. He never imagined renting a 15-passenger van to take them to California’s Bass Lake every summer. Or envisioned the kids hiking, playing pranks, and competing viciously over silly games they invented together. But this July, Tim will—as has now become an annual tradition—rent that van, fill it with food from Costco, and take the kids out to Bass Lake for a week.
The “kids” are 18 to 25 years old now, adults really. Some have been coming to Bass Lake for a decade.
Over the years, they have found Tim in one of two ways: a website called the Donor Sibling Registry, which connects people by donor number, or, more recently, DNA tests from 23andMe or AncestryDNA. These tools have allowed many donor-conceived people to connect with their donors and donor siblings. But Tim, a 52-year-old real-estate agent in San Francisco, is unusually involved, and the sibling group unusually tight-knit. When I asked whether I could interview any of the siblings, he shot off a message in their Instagram group chat. Eleven of them quickly agreed.