Aaron Long, Class of 1988, poses with his girlfriend, mother and a few of his biological children.
Aaron Long estimates that he has fathered 67 children. The Hopkins alum graduated in 1988 and has, in his own words, become sort of famous.
Long is a writer and communications specialist from Seattle. In his 20s, while broke and living at home, Long donated his sperm twice a week for an entire year to earn a little extra cash. He did not think much of these donations until a few decades later, when he started searching online to see if he had fathered any children.
“I had no strong purpose in mind other than curiosity. It wasn’t like I was looking for my kids to complete my life or anything like that. I was just curious to know what they looked like and interested in getting to know them if possible,” Long said in an interview with The News-Letter.
Not only has Long written a feature for the New York Times, but several outlets like BBC News and the Seattle Times have also covered his unique experience. A friend of Long’s is even filming a documentary about the family, titled Forty Dollars a Pop. Long commented on the stage the film is currently at in the production process.
“The filmmakers were nearly ready to wrap up the documentary when we became sort of famous, so who knows when it will get finished. Every once in a while they interview us again and tag along to our press events,” he said. “We have an agent now, and we’ve received interest in a reality show and a feature film.”
In October 2017, Long used the genetic testing service 23andMe to find his children. A week later he connected with one of his sons, Bryce.
Bryce had connected with some of his half-siblings who were also interested in meeting Long. Long then invited his children to meet him in what he called a “meet my kids party.” There he met three of his children face-to-face for the first time.
“The hardest thing to describe is the way they feel to me. When I’m around them they just seem kind of like me, especially the way they hold themselves in their bodies. There’s just a strong sense of me-ness,” Long said.
But any awkwardness quickly dissolved, he explained.
“We all began teasing each other immediately, which I think is a common way that families bond. There’s a shared sense of humor: witty in a sly, clever kind of way. Everyone is soft-spoken, a little bit shy and mellow,” he said.
Long’s family is not new to sperm donations. Shortly after joining 23andMe, Long received a message from someone listed as his second cousin. The woman said she was looking for her biological father and that she thought one of Long’s relatives might be her sperm donor. Long noted that she did look like his mom’s side of the family, and after some investigative work into his 23 cousins, he narrowed it down to two potential candidates. One was a match, and Long said the woman and her newfound father became fast friends.
Long has connected with 10 of his children. He and Jessica Share, the mother of one of his daughters, hit it off shortly before his party. Share said she had immediately felt at ease with Long because of his resemblance to their daughter. All three now live in Seattle together, with Long’s other children occasionally visiting them.
“Everything has worked out fantastically. As a parent of mostly teens and 20-year-olds that I have no real responsibility for, I got to jump right to the fun part. I like to tease my friends with kids, telling them, ‘Parenting is easy!’” Long said.
He described his relationships with his kids as that of a friend rather than a parental figure. Though some of his children call him dad, he explained that there is no proper terminology for their situation.
“Since we’re not beholden to each other like real parents and children are, I don’t really have any real parental responsibilities. The kids aren’t counting on me for important stuff, and I’m not telling them what to do,” Long said. “We treat each other like friends. I think they like having an older friend they can confide in. They sometimes ask for my advice, and I’m happy to give it.”
Long said that meeting his children has enriched his life immeasurably. No longer a bachelor, he is now in touch with 10 of his children and has a girlfriend, and the press is loving his story.
If his life story were adapted into a dramatic film, Long said he would like to be played by Mark Ruffalo, and Share said she would prefer to be played by Jennifer Aniston. The family is enjoying their time in the spotlight, and Long noted they will be on Inside Edition in a few weeks.
Corrections: The headline for the article has been changed to more accurately reflect the content of the piece. The article has also been updated to clarify some of the quotes. The News-Letter regrets these errors.