“Childless” man discovers he has 37 children

A man, initially believing he had no children, expressed astonishment upon discovering he was, in fact, the father of 37 children.

In a surprising turn of events, Peter Ellenstein, a man who believed himself to be childless, was confronted with the revelation that he was the father of 37 secret children. This unexpected discovery came to light in 2017 when he received a message on Facebook from a woman named Rachel, who shared her suspicion that he may have been the donor responsible for her conception through in-vitro fertilization.

Initially taken aback by the unexpected message, Ellenstein admitted to feeling “freaked out” and skeptical, suspecting it could be a scam. As he delved deeper into the situation, he realized that during his 20s and 30s while working as a theatre producer and artistic director in Los Angeles, he had frequently donated sperm at two sperm banks as a means of earning extra income, each donation fetching $45.


Despite making hundreds of donations anonymously, Ellenstein had never considered the possibility of fathering children or the potential consequences of his actions. His late marriage at the age of 48 and the absence of biological children of his own had further solidified his belief that he was childless, although he had raised his wife’s daughter as his own.

Rachel’s message served as the catalyst for Ellenstein’s journey into uncharted territory as he embarked on a quest to connect with his newfound offspring. Through a video chat with Rachel, he experienced a profound sense of recognition upon noticing her resemblance to him, particularly in their shared eyes, igniting a desire to know and understand her and the other children he had sired.


The revelation expanded as Rachel informed Ellenstein of 11 other children he had fathered, including a sailor and a scientist. Over time, Ellenstein had the opportunity to meet four of his daughters and was astonished to discover that he had become a grandfather. In total, he became aware of 37 children, of which he has met 34.

Their backgrounds vary, but many of the mothers are Jewish, mirroring Ellenstein’s own heritage. Despite the vast geographical distances separating them, the family members have found a means of connection through a Facebook group, fostering communication and a sense of belonging.


While Ellenstein has not provided financial support to any of his children, he acknowledges his desire to assist those in need and make visits more feasible, having loaned small amounts to several of them. His journey of self-discovery and newfound paternal responsibilities underscores the complexities and implications of modern reproductive technologies and the enduring bonds of family, despite unconventional beginnings.

Written by Telha

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