On the show

College friends shocked to find out they’re half-sisters by sperm donor

Jan. 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM ET

Video: Mikayla Stern-Ellis, 19, Emily Nappi, 18, joined TODAY to tell the story of how they realized they had the same sperm donor, and were related. They met on Facebook before attending Tulane University and recently confirmed the relationship. “It’s so crazy walking around campus calling each other sisters,” said Stern-Ellis.

They look alike, love acting and chose the very same college hundreds of miles away from home. But there’s something else these new friends have in common and it's making for an extraordinary family reunion.

Meet Mikayla Stern-Ellis, 19, and Emily Nappi, 18, who recently found out they are half-sisters, sharing the same biological father who donated sperm to their mothers.

“I already tell her I love her and it’s been two weeks,” Emily told TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Friday.

“It’s just really, really cool to gain more family,” added Mikayla.

The teens met on social media last year during the roommate search process at Tulane University in New Orleans. The girls — both freshmen — filled out a survey and noticed they had a lot in common. They didn’t end up sharing a dorm room, but kept in touch on Facebook. A few weeks later, Emily noticed Mikayla posting about her “Colombian sperm donor” biological father. It made Emily pause: she, too, was conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor from Colombia.

“When she posted that status, I thought that’s too much of a coincidence,” Emily said.

Could it be the same man? The teens joked about the possibility, but laughed it off. Still, the parallels kept coming: They both love the theater and will star in Tulane’s production of the “Vagina Monologues.” They have similar personalities and sport long curly black manes. Both were raised in California. They also have a similar taste in clothes: Mikayla bought a fleece jacket on a Black Friday shopping trip only to later find out Emily had bought the exact same coat.

So over the Christmas break, the girls asked their mothers for help. Sperm donors are issued numbers to identify them without revealing their names, so the teens compared theirs and were stunned to find out they matched.

“I wanted so badly to scream,” recalled Mikayla, who was at a doctor’s office when she got the news. “It was mind blowing.”

“I panicked,” Emily recalled. “I freaked out… I started running around the house screaming and telling everybody.”

The teens, who say they’ve become a lot closer since finding out they’re half-sisters, have enjoyed watching their families meet for the first time.

They differ in their interest in their biological father, however. Mikayla would like to meet the sperm donor, while Emily is curious what he looks like, but doesn’t want to find him.

TOP