In 2005, Jessica Share made a decision to have a child with her life partner using the help of a donor. But things didn’t work out with her wife, and eventually, the two broke up. Jessica raised her daughter Alice mostly on her own for the next few years until something very unexpected happened.
Years later, she met a guy named Aaron Long and they hit it off perfectly. But neither of them had any idea that they had met once before—just not the way most people do. And neither of them had any idea that their love connection was seemingly set by fate.
She Wanted to Start a Family
Jessica Share’s love story with Aaron Long began in 2005, except, he wasn’t in the picture. At the time, she was happily in love and married to an unnamed woman. Both Share and her partner wanted to have kids, so, they started looking at potential candidates that could become sperm donors. But it wasn’t easy.
They Were Hesitant to Use a Known Donor
“Ever since we'd met we had dreamed about having kids together. We decided on four and together we chose their names. The next step was more difficult. My girlfriend suggested her brother-in-law could help. He was receptive, but I took a gay and lesbian legal rights course offered by the college of law at my university, and quickly gave up on the idea of a known donor,” Share told the BBC. And there was a reason for her hesitancy.
Courts Always Sided With Known Donors
Long and her partner worried that a known sperm donor might try to take their children away if he changed his mind someday. And neither of them would have any legal way to stop him. “Courts had been known to give them custody rights, calling their gift of sperm an act of parenting. When birth moms died, children were removed from their homes to be placed with men they barely knew. Luckily, we discovered a sperm bank that shipped right to our home,” she explained.
The Donor Had to Be in Perfect Health
The couple searched far and wide for a candidate that had all the qualities they were looking for, like good health and decent weight. The most important thing was their family history. Fortunately, they found a candidate who had no medical history of cancer, diabetes or any other health ailments in the family. And that’s not all.
The Donor Loved Music and Sports
Share’s potential donor was, of course, anonymous, but his profile stated that he had brown hair, was a sports fan, worked as a cab driver and a musician, and was also a literature major. But why was this young man interested in being a donor?
He Needed the Cash
Share and her wife had no idea that the donor was called Aaron Long or that he had just come back from living abroad for a year and was now living with his mother. He was obviously looking to get his life together and he needed some cash, hence why he became a donor. But it wasn’t a one-time thing.
Donors Get Paid $40
In 2018, Long wrote an article for The New York Times in which he described the entire experience as follows: “‘Donors’ is the standard industry word, yet virtually all of us are paid. Forty dollars a pop was what I received in 1994.” It turns out that he had been donating sperm for a year, despite the fact that he was in a long-distance relationship.
The Happy Couple Welcomed a Little Girl
Naturally, a donation can be preserved for years without deteriorating, which was a good thing for Share, as Long’s donation was used to impregnate her in 2005. And she gave birth to a daughter, whom she and her wife named Alice. But this was only the beginning.
They Used the Same Donor a Second Time
Several months later, Share’s wife was impregnated with Long’s DNA, and they had another little girl named Soren in 2007. But these weren’t the only children Long had fathered. In fact, it’s estimated that he had over 60 children floating around in the world. But did he ever meet any of them?
They Didn’t Want Their Daughters to Meet Long
In January 2019, Share’s wife told BBC Stories that she would never want her daughters to meet their biological father or have any kind of contact with him. That seemed easy to do since Share and her wife didn’t even know what Long looked like.
The Couple’s Happiness Didn’t Last
For three years, the happy couple continued to raise their daughters, who, from a biological standpoint, were half-sisters. Then, out of the blue, the couple broke up, and Share was stunned. She told the BBC, “There had been no conflict in our family, so I was shocked and heartbroken.”
Her Ex Didn’t Want to Talk About It
Share claimed that one of the worst things about breaking up was that her ex didn’t want to talk to her about what happened. "She said she did not want to talk about it, and there was nothing I could do to repair our marriage,” she explained. And while she had lost her life partner, she still had two daughters to think about.
They Shared Custody
Initially, the two mothers agreed on joint custody of their daughters, but Share claims she spent more time looking after them than her ex did. “I continued parenting the sisters five days a week for a few years,” she explained to the BBC. “But when Alice was ten, my ex-partner blocked [her] on her phone, cut off all contact with her and refused to return her younger sister following a vacation.” But the former partner wasn’t the only one that had changed...
The Donor Had Moved On With His Life
In The New York Times article he wrote, Long talked about how he was an executive assistant at the Low Income Housing Institute in Seattle, Washington, and how he was no longer a sperm donor. “After a year of selling my sperm, I went back to giving it away and largely forgot about the whole thing. Occasionally the subject of whether I had children would come up, and I’d make a joke about probably having a bunch.”
Long Had Signed Away With Rights
When Long became a donor, he signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevented him from seeking custody of any of the kids he sired. So, he never thought he’d ever meet one of his biological children. But that didn’t stop him from trying.
He Started Looking for His Progeny
In the early 2000s, Long used a website called 23andMe to see if he could track down some of his progeny. The site was designed to provide people with information on potential relatives and their ancestry. All he needed to do was provide a sample of his saliva.
The Odds of Finding His Kids Weren’t Good
Long was sure about wanting to meet his children, but wasn’t certain this site could help. “The opportunity was obvious, but I assumed the odds of finding my children were low,” he wrote in The New York Times. “I procrastinated for months before curiosity and an urge to know them made me order a kit.”
He Discovered that He Had a Son
Eventually, Long got the results and he discovered he had a son named Bryce. So, he went online and searched for him and found that he was the spitting image of him. But he wasn’t entirely sure if reaching out to him would be a good idea.
He Wrote a Letter to His Child
After weeks of debating with himself, he wrote to Bryce. The letter read: “Dear Bryce. I recently joined 23andMe and found you listed as my ‘son,’ so I believe myself to be your biological father. I hope my existence isn’t a shock and wonder whether you joined in hopes of connecting with me.”
He Got a Quick Response
Bryce reportedly wrote back to him almost right away. The letter read: “Dad, I cannot express how excited I am to be hearing from you. I did join 23andMe hoping that you would have already done so and was upset to see you hadn’t. This is amazing, though, and I’m so happy.”
Bryce Revealed More Kids
Bryce’s letter also talked about other biological children that Long had reportedly sired. “I’m one of six of your children that I’m aware of and in contact with. I’m 20 years old and live on Long Island, but I’m studying in upstate New York,” Bryce wrote. Was Long ready to handle his new parental role?
He Deduced He Had Over 60 Kids
After recovering from the shock, Long deduced that he had fathered approximately 67 children. Despite this, he was still interested in contacting his other kids, and Bryce even put him on the right path by getting him in touch with his biological daughter—a woman named Madalyn.
He Had His First Parental Thought
When Long saw Madalyn’s Facebook page, he immediately thought that she needed to “put some more clothes on.” Then almost immediately he realized that this was his “first parental thought ever” with regards to one of his newly found children. But what about Share’s daughter? Would Long be able to find her online as well?
She Wanted a DNA Kit for Christmas
In 2016, Share’s daughter, Alice, told her mother that she wanted to know more about her biological father. So, when she was 11, she asked Santa for a DNA kit and she got one. But had she set herself up for disappointment?
She Got the Results She Had Been Waiting For
Alice followed the instructions on the kit and then sent the results off by mail. After waiting impatiently for two months, she got the results and learned that she was a 25 percent match with her biological brother, Bryce, and a 50 percent match for her biological father, Aaron Long.
Her Daughters Inherited Their Father’s Face
Share was intrigued by the discovery as well, so she searched for Long’s medical history online and what she found made it clear that Alice had found her biological father. “There was no doubt,” Share told the BBC. “My daughters make that stupid face.”
Share Started Talking to Her Sperm Donor
Share and Long started chatting online to get to know each other a little better. Some of the topics they covered included the donation and insemination process. Then the two parents felt so comfortable that they started sharing even more things.
Share No Longer Considered Herself a Lesbian
Long reportedly sent Share an account of his life that was 50 pages long and Share told the BBC that she “devoured” every bit of information. Share also told Long that she no longer identified as a lesbian, and that she had a boyfriend with the same first and middle name as Long.
He Got to Know His Kids Better
Long had also gotten to know his biological children as well. “Bryce’s showed me how little I know of young adult culture and reminded me that one’s 20s are a difficult decade," he shared. “[Madalyn’s] revealed a keen understanding of her upbringing and the parts of it she would like to break from. But it was Alice’s [biography]... that floored me.”
He Related to Alice’s Darkness
When Long asked his daughter, Alice, what her favorite color was, the young girl, replied, “Black. Like my soul.” He found her response unusual. But what really surprised him was the fact that her favorite holiday was “Halloween (because candy and murder).” Interesting enough, Halloween was his favorite holiday, too.
Long Was Connecting With Alice’s Mother
Although Long was bonding well with Alice, he was also connecting with her mother, too. Eventually, Share and Long discussed having her visiting him at his home in Seattle. And this gave him a great idea.
He Threw a Party That Was Like a Wedding
Long had never had a wedding, but according to his New York Times article, the party he threw was sort of like one. “I had told my news to a few people, but most learned of it from the “Meet My Kids Party” Facebook invitation, featuring photos of Bryce, Madi and Alice. The shock value was high,” he explained.
The Party Was Important for Everyone
The event was cherished by all who attended because not only did Long get to meet his biological children, but they got to finally meet each other face to face, too. Long later shared that he loved his kids the moment he laid eyes on them.
He Made Some Quick Observations About His Kids
Long mentioned in his article that all of his kids had interesting quirks. For example, Bryce was a meme enthusiast, while he and Madi had a similar sense of humor. As for Alice, she “has little use for adults.” But this party was only the beginning of their bonding experience.
They Planned a Vacation Together
As the family started to get to know each other better, their bond grew. So naturally, Long and Share came up with the idea of taking the whole family out on a vacation. And by this point, Share was a free agent as she and her boyfriend, also named Aaron, had called it quits.
The Parental Units Started Bonding
Long and Share eventually realized that they too had a special bond. “The first time Jess and I found ourselves alone, we hugged at length in a way entirely inappropriate for people who had just met. Jess says I have mannerisms that remind her of both of her daughters and thus felt instantly comfortable with me,” Long wrote.
Fate Had Brought Them Together
All of a sudden, it became clear to Long that perhaps he and Share were always meant to be part of each other’s lives. “Whether we were pawns of fate or unwitting participants in a chromosomally arranged marriage, Jess and I quickly bonded,” he wrote.
They Slipped Into Their Roles as Parents
During the family vacation, Long and Share felt like they had become the parental units of the group. “We soon had in-jokes and teased each other about our foibles, just like any family. I even gave Bryce and [Madalyn] a lecture about smoking,” he shared. But then, Bryce did something that really shook Jessica and Alice’s lives.
Bryce Got Jessica and Alice Kicked Out
“Bryce somehow managed to get Jess and Alice kicked out of the house they were renting by climbing onto the roof to retrieve a toy,” Long explained. Obviously, he couldn’t leave them out on the street, so Long offered his daughter and the mother of one of his kids the chance to move in with him.
The Arrangement Became Permanent
Although the arrangement was supposed to be a temporary one, Share found that she enjoyed living with her sperm donor. So, after talking it over, she and Long decided to live under the same roof permanently. But how did Alice feel about this?
Everyone was Happy to Be a Family
According to Long, Alice “rolled her eyes as if she had been tricked into a traditional family arrangement.” But suffice it to say, everyone was pleased with the decision to come together as a family.
23andMe Turned Into a Dating Site
“While 23andMe is not generally considered a dating site, Jess and I are grateful to the technology that has made our backward-formed relationship possible,” Long wrote. Admittedly, their non-traditional encounter led to a very traditional family arrangement.
He Found a Total of Ten Children
Long claimed that he and Share’s relationship has continued to thrive and that she has even taken a special interest in his other children. And by the time Long had written his The New York Times article in September 2018, he had already found ten of his offspring.
Madalyn Moved to the West Coast
While there are other children waiting to be discovered, Long is happy Share and Alice are living with him. Better yet, his other daughter, Madalyn, eventually moved in with them, too. And the family is keeping their fingers crossed that Bryce might move to the West Coast, too.
They Love Spending Time Together
In spite of the way they finally met, Long believes that there is a simple explanation to his successful relationship with Share. “In the end, the sci-fi trappings of our love story are irrelevant: Jess and I work as a couple because we like spending time together. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I happen to be the father of her child,” he shared.
Everyone’s Handling the Attention Well
The family has handled all the subsequent media attention quite well, too. In January 2019, Madalyn told The Seattle Times, “I’m into the media right now. I guess it’s fun.” As far as Long and Share are concerned, it’s hard to say whether they would have had the same happy ending had they met years ago before the insemination. But what’s important is that they’re together now.
Their Love Story Became Part of Modern Love
Long and Share’s love story was also introduced in a column written by Long himself for the book “Modern Love, True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption.” The piece was also read by actor Kal Penn during the Modern Love Podcast. But that’s not all.
He Wrote a Blog
Long has also written a blog called Brave New Family which documents his journey to find his children as well as his love story with Share. In some cases, Share has been known to write on the blog, too. And while there haven’t been any updates since 2019, it’s still worth a look.
The Blog Has Stories of Other Women
The blog also shares the story of some of the other women whom Long helped make children with like Marcia Jacobs, the mother of a remarkable young woman named Emily. But the more famous they became, the more tired the growing family got.
The Non-Traditional Family Was Tapped Out
The family has also been tapped to appear on television interviews and even radio interviews, but admittedly, the process has been known to tire them out. However, they were more than happy to share their story anyway and the rest, as they say, is history.