Portrait of Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan, the ultimate "known donor," dies. He may have left behind thousands of offspring; geneticists speculate that millions of people today could possess his genes.

Philadelphia professor William Pancoast inseminates a Quaker woman whose husband is sterile, using the sperm of one of his best-looking medical students.

The Supreme Court of Cook County, Illinois, holds that children born via donor insemination are not legitimate.

The state of Georgia rules that children conceived by donor insemination are legitimate, so long as the husband and wife consent in writing.

After being conceived by in vitro fertilization, Louise Joy Brown is born in Greater Manchester, U.K., becoming the first "test-tube baby."

The first "test-tube baby" Louise Joy Brown on The Phil Donahue Show with her mother. Credit: Corbis Images

Pacific Reproductive Services, a "lesbian-owned sperm bank," is founded to serve the special needs of women planning alternative families.

Murphy Brown experiences a ratings bonanza—and earns a rebuke from Vice President Dan Quayle—when its titular character gets pregnant and opts to raise the child alone.

Melissa Etheridge and her partner Julie Cypher pose on the cover of Rolling Stone with their children and David Crosby—the kids' biological father.

Julie Cypher, Melissa Etheridge, and David Crosby at the Santa Monica Civic Center in Los Angeles in September 2000.
Credit: Getty Images

Andy Bathie, a British firefighter, is forced to pay child support after the lesbian couple he donated sperm to breaks up. He claims they assured him he'd have no responsibilities for the child.

The Kids Are All Right, the story of a lesbian couple whose lives are disrupted when their two kids locate their donor dad, becomes a watercooler topic and an Oscar nominee.

A scene from the 2010 film The Kids Are All Right, starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, and Mark Ruffalo. Credit: Everett

February 2011
Rufus Wainwright announces that he and Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard, have become "proud parents" together, with Wainwright's fiancé, Joern Weisbrodt, acting as a "deputy dad."

September 2011
The New York Times reports on a couple who learned their son had at least 149 half-siblings who shared the same sperm donor.

October 2011
The documentary Donor Unknown follows a group of biological siblings as they get to know their donor dad.

December 2011
Alabama politician Bill Johnson is embroiled in a scandal after it is reported that he used an online alias to meet lesbian couples seeking a sperm donor.

January 2012
"Donorsexual" Trent Arsenault, 36, tells Anderson Cooper that despite having fathered 14 children through artificial insemination, he's still a virgin.

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Trent Arsenault on Anderson.

Also on Details.com:
Welcome to Donor Nation—Home of the (New) Part-Time Dad
The Gay Baby Boom
Are You Raising a Douchebag?
The Gay Parent Trap