Woman, 34, reveals how she finally felt like a ‘normal person’ after finding her sperm donor and siblings, including a half brother

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Amanda Burgess (pictured) from Clacton-on-Sea recalled the emotional moment that she discovered she was donor conceived

A woman has revealed the trauma of learning she was donor-conceived at the age of 21 in a new ITV documentary.

Amanda Burgess, 34, from Clacton-on-Sea, was shocked to discover her heritage during a drunken evening at the local pub when she was 21.

She began to learn about the nature of her conception when she overheard her mother’s conversation at the pub after years of being kept in the dark.

‘From that point, life was just different. I wasn’t the person I was 24 hours ago,’ Amanda said. 

She longed to find more information about her sperm donor but feared that she would upset her parents.

However, she finally launched her search for information in a new ITV documentary, Born from the Same Stranger. In a whirlwind episode, Amanda learned that she has four half-siblings, and even managed to contact her sperm donor.

Amanda Burgess (pictured) from Clacton-on-Sea recalled the emotional moment that she discovered she was donor conceived 

Amanda’s experience raises the question of whether donor conceived children have the right to know their donor’s identity. 

The four-part series follows a UK law change that took effect in 2023, which ended donor anonymity. It means that anyone conceived by donation after 2005 can apply to find out more details about their identity as soon as they turn 18.

In the emotional episode, Amanda recalled the moment she found out she was donor-conceived.

‘It was just a normal evening with my friends we popped to the pub, and I didn’t know life was going to change,’ she said.

‘I was 21. That night out was just like any other normal night out I would have had, and then my mum walked in.

‘My friend looked at her and said: “You need to tell her”. My mum had told my friend’s mother the big secret, and then the next morning, my mum just blurted it out: “Your dad’s not your dad, we had to use a sperm donor”.

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‘From that point, life was just different. I wasn’t the person I was 24 hours ago. Suddenly, I was donor conceived.’

In the years following her surprising discovery, Amanda built a family of her own, which aided her understanding of her parents’ decision.

In an emotional episode, Amanda discovered that she has a half-brother, Guy (left). The pair met up in Edinburgh and instantly felt a connection

In an emotional episode, Amanda discovered that she has a half-brother, Guy (left). The pair met up in Edinburgh and instantly felt a connection 

Amanda's life changed for good at the age of 21  (the age she is pictured above) when she found out that she was donor conceived

Amanda’s life changed for good at the age of 21  (the age she is pictured above) when she found out that she was donor conceived 

After a year or so of trying for a family with her partner Kevin, the pair encountered fertility problems.

‘The doctors recommended that we have IVF,’ she said. Luckily, the pair later managed to have a son together. 

‘Ryder is half me and half Kevin, but the parallels are quite similar really to what my parents had to experience,’ she said. 

‘It did make me understand what they would have felt at the time when they were obviously trying to have a child and start a family and it wasn’t really working for them,’ the mother-of-one added.

But although Amanda can empathize with her parents, one subject remained difficult to approach with them.

‘I want to know who my donor is,’ Amanda said. She continued: ‘Just a name, or a picture, I just don’t want to upset my parents.’

To commence her journey, Amanda sought advice from an individual with similar experiences and landed on Louise, a donor-conceived journalist and podcaster.

The mother-of-one has been supported by her husband Kevin (pictured left) throughout the emotional journey

The mother-of-one has been supported by her husband Kevin (pictured left) throughout the emotional journey 

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The mother-of-one travelled to south London to visit Louise. 

Amanda explained that she wanted to search for her relatives but fears upsetting her parents.

She told Louise: ‘I don’t want him [my dad] to think that I don’t love him, because I do and that will never change.’

But there’s this whole other person out there that’s half of me.’

Louise empathised with Amanda, having gone through a similar situation, saying. ‘I did also go to bed at night and think: “Who is this guy?”. It was just this question mark that existed.’

Amanda replied: ‘It’s this weird elephant that’s in the room and its always there and we have to tip toe around it.’

But the chat with Louise resulted in clarity.

Thirteen years after Amanda found out she was donor-conceived, she finally felt ready to take a DNA test. 

‘I feel like the time is now, I’m just doing it. I really need to know,’ she said.

Amanda added: ‘If I knew the identity of the donor, I would know once and for all, who I am.’

She added: ‘And if there are half-siblings, I would love to have a relationship with them.’

It’s really hard, you don’t know who you are, almost.’

Three months after submitting her DNA, she received some answers.

The experience proved emotional for Amanda, who broke down in tears when she got more information than she initially bargained for.

The DNA website found a match for her sperm donor.

‘I genuinely didn’t think my donor would be on one of these sites,’ she said.

Amanda added: ‘It’s there in black and white it’s real, the person exists.’

Another genealogy website revealed she had four paternal half-siblings. ‘It’s nuts, it’s showing a half-sister, she’s a lawyer and I went to university to do law, what a weird thing.’

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‘That’s a lot more information than I knew 20 minutes ago, my mind is a bit blown now,’ she said.

Amanda decided to reach out to her matches with the hope of forming a relationship. 

‘I’m acutely aware that I’m going to fire into someone’s life, and they might not want that,’ she acknowledged.

The mother-of-one broke down in tears after finding a DNA match for her sperm donor on a genealogy website

The mother-of-one broke down in tears after finding a DNA match for her sperm donor on a genealogy website

Roy, from Edinburgh, said the possibility of forming a relationship with his half-sister is 'wonderful'

Roy, from Edinburgh, said the possibility of forming a relationship with his half-sister is ‘wonderful’ 

After messaging her half-siblings, Amanda was thrilled to discover that her half-brother, Guy, also 34, wanted to meet.

The half-siblings took to Edinburgh, where Guy works as a Ryanair pilot.

Unlike Amanda, Guy discovered that he was donor-conceived at 13. 

Having been raised as an only child, Guy thought it was ‘wonderful’ that he could now bond with a sibling.

After meeting, the pair hit it off and found common ground. 

Amanda said: ‘He seems like a really nice person, and he understands internally how I feel because he is also dealing with that.’

‘What Amanda and I have had today is special, it’s amazing,’ Guy added.

In the future, Amanda hopes the relationship will transform into a deep familial connection.

However, Amanda’s discovery didn’t end there. She also reached out to her sperm donor through an intermediary.

The pair messaged one another, and her donor was happy to answer any questions.  

Amanda, ecstatic with her findings, summarised: ‘You feel like normal people do I suppose.’

In the future, the mother-of-one plans to grow her relationship with Guy and her sperm donor. 

She concluded: ‘I definitely feel lighter like a weight lifted inside, and I feel like I’m not so alone anymore.’

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Source: tit.edu.vn

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