APPLE VALLEY, Minn. -- Imagine finding out you have 29 half-siblings and potentially more out there.
That's the reality for a group of people from all over the country who met for the first time this weekend in the Twin Cities. Nine of the half-siblings met face-to-face during a weekend visit to Minnesota.
"This past weekend we just connected with six more from Salt Lake City," Karen Lindahl said.
So far, they've found 29 half-siblings thanks to online DNA tests.
"I didn't know I was donor-conceived until after I took the DNA test," Lindahl said.
She took a 23andMe DNA test six years ago which showed a half-sister match.
"I sent a screenshot to my sisters and was like, 'Guys, who's going to talk to Mom and Dad about this,'" she joked.
It wasn't a family scandal connecting the two, but instead, a shared sperm donor.
Lindahl helped start a Facebook group where the relatives have connected since the pandemic. Turns out, it wasn't until the majority of them were adults that they found out they were donor-conceived.
"It's been hard, it's been fun, and it's been exciting meeting people who look like me and share some of the weird quirks and health issues and stuff like that. It's been fun, everyone has different experiences with it," Megan Christenson said.
For Lindahl, finding out she had a larger family than she thought, came one year since she tried to take her own life. She said this news gave her a new outlook on life.
"It took so much for us to get into this world that it inspired me to really embrace everything and take a lot more value into life," she said.
But the newly discovered siblings said the experience revealed a lack of rights and resources for donor-conceived people.
"We were told there was a limit of three, like three children or families the donor was supposed to donate to and we've got seven different families here," she said.
Another issue they've found is not having access to their medical history.
"I think most of us are open to knowing more about the person who helped create us. I don't think any of us need to know but it would be nice to know our medical history," Christensen said.
As they ponder their past, they're finding support in their new community of donor siblings, or as they call it, "diblings."
The group thinks they found the identity of the donor, tracing it back to a bank in Salt Lake City in the 90s. Not all of the half-siblings wanted to connect, but those that have, say it's been a rewarding experience.