From left, Zac, 15, Caelan, 4, Lisa Quinn, Delaney, 1, Shannon Ashton, Mackie, 8, and Darcy, 13. Picture: Nigel Hallett
From left, Zac, 15, Caelan, 4, Lisa Quinn, Delaney, 1, Shannon Ashton, Mackie, 8, and Darcy, 13. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Social risk as sperm donor fathers 48 kids

HE IS a blue-eyed Aussie surfer identified only by a serial number, and he has fathered 48 children - making him one of the country's most successful sperm donors.

The Ashston kids from Brisbane are five of those offspring, and there are others living in their nearby suburbs.

Where the rest live remains a mystery.

This "John Doe" donor has given Shannon Ashton and her wife Lisa a life-changing and very rare gift - five happy and beautiful children aged from one to 15.

But the Queensland family is an example of how rapidly growing numbers of "diblings", or donor siblings, increase the risk of genetic sexual attraction.

One day these kids who share DNA could meet - and unknowingly fall for - someone with the same genetic dad as them.

 

Clockwide from left, Zac, 15, Lisa Quinn, Shannon Ashton, Darcy, 13, Caelan, 4, Delaney, 1,  Mackie, 8, and Caelan, 4. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Clockwide from left, Zac, 15, Lisa Quinn, Shannon Ashton, Darcy, 13, Caelan, 4, Delaney, 1, Mackie, 8, and Caelan, 4. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

"We accidentally found out that three other kids in our neighbourhood have the same donor," mother Shannon Ashton told The Courier-Mail.

"I took it as a chance for my children to meet their donor siblings, but sadly the other parents were not happy with the revelation.

"Using a sperm donor is still surrounded by a certain taboo.

"Many parents don't want to reveal their family circumstances, and that is fair enough.

"I am very open with my kids and they will be taught to make sure they know the DNA of any girlfriends or boyfriends.

"It may mean having to memorise the code number of their donor in case they want to date someone who was also born via a sperm donor."

Queensland fertility specialist David Molloy told The Courier-Mail that 48 children was an extraordinary number of donor siblings from one donor, and was the most he had heard of "by a long shot".

"It is also a very rare situation that there would be five children from the same sperm donor in one family," he said.

 

From left, Zac, 15, Caelan, 4, Lisa Quinn, Delaney, 1, Shannon Ashton, Mackie, 8, and Darcy, 13. Picture: Nigel Hallett
From left, Zac, 15, Caelan, 4, Lisa Quinn, Delaney, 1, Shannon Ashton, Mackie, 8, and Darcy, 13. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

Dr Molloy said the sperm donor process was highly regulated, and there were restrictions in clinics to ensure sperm was well distributed around the country.

"It is usually planned that the mothers would live thousands of miles away from each other," he said.

Regulations have changed around sperm donation.
Regulations have changed around sperm donation.

In the early 2000s sperm donors were allowed to service 20 families, but today the limit is 10.

Within the Queensland Fertility Group there have been 1500 births from sperm donors in five years.

The donors have no parental rights over the children.

When a donor child turns 18, they can seek out the identity of the donor.

Ms Ashton admits to being very proactive in finding out about the father of her children.

"I did a lot of my own investigation about the sperm donor," she said.

"I was shocked that he had fathered 48 children, but we couldn't be happier with our family and will never regret a moment.

"I was attracted to the idea of an outdoor, fit and healthy man, and an Aussie surfer who also played rugby was ideal.

"And my kids are all very sporty."

myrainbowtribe.com



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