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A British man who went looking for his biological father got much more than he expected, when he found out he had 25 American brothers and sisters.
Oli Benjamin, 21, was conceived via a sperm donor from California in the late 1990s and raised by a gay couple, but he was curious about his origins from a young age.
His two mothers were always open with him about how he was born, explaining from an early age that they decided to have him via an IVF and embryo transfer - which wasn't available in the UK at the time. When he turned 18, he decided to go looking for his biological father.
A new BBC documentary called 25 Siblings and Me is set to look into his journey to find the donor, but when Oli eventually found his biological father, it didn't quite go to plan.
Oli found Daley, who decided he didn't want to stay anonymous anymore, a few months after signing up to the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). He was also contacted by a woman named Jordan, who was his half-sister - and learned he had 24 other half-siblings.
The DSR website describes itself as a 'non-profit US organisation serving donor offspring, sperm donors, egg donors and other donor conceived people'.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Oli said that once he'd met Daley, he had 'no interest' in continuing to have a relationship him. He sees his half brothers and sisters as cousins.
He told the news outlet: "Genetics are the door to relationships, but they're not relationships."
When he met Daley, he expected it to be like a film, but instead, he didn't get quite the reception he was hoping for.
But instead, his genetic dad 'was a bit like: "Hi, No. 20-whatever".'
Oli added: "He'd been through it quite a number of times. It's funny because Daley and I are really not that alike at all. We're very different people."
The documentary talks about their experiences - some of his siblings didn't have any idea that's how they were conceived.
He added: "It's much better for someone to be made aware of their donor and who their biological family are and choose not to have relationships with them, than to not know and to never meet them and never be able to make that decision for themselves."
Writing in the Daily Mail, Oli said: "I never saw Daley as a father figure, always like a cousin or an uncle. We aren't anything alike personality-wise. But I did get his good teeth. The trip has shown me that your family are those who stick by you, who you grow up with, who care about you, as opposed to biological status.
"I have also learned to be more accepting of myself. It's not about getting along with as many people as possible. It's about getting along with the people that are right for you. And I think I have found a few of those [among the siblings], so I am very happy. As far as I'm concerned, it's a win."
25 Siblings and Me airs on Sunday 4 October at 9pm on BBC2.
Featured Image Credit: BBC/Expectation Entertainment/Alex Pitt
Topics: UK News
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