People Whose Lives Have Been Rocked By DNA Services Like 23andMe Reveal What Happened
There's often a dark side to having your DNA heritage tested - you might found out you're not who you think you are. But that's the risk, and maybe if everyone got their DNA tested, there would less racism in the world. Personally, I'm open-minded, and family isn't only defined by blood.
gonegirlss asked: People whose families have been destroyed by 23andme and other DNA sequencing services, what went down?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
50. Dad got around.
I've been searching for my father my whole life and through 23andme I just found a half-brother, finally answering the question. Our father is unfortunately passed, but we're meeting in person in April.
A couple weeks after we found each other we were also contacted by another half-sister.
Damn good luck, but dad sure got around.
My brother got our whole family 23andMe kits for Christmas last year. Everyone did the swab and got their results back which showed how we're all related and yada yada yada, but my results came back inconclusive. 23andMe sent me a new kit to do it again and THAT one also came back inconclusive. So the company sent me an email basically saying I can never do it again probably because I'm using a bunch of resources with no results.
Anyway now my family says I don't have any human DNA and that I must be a lizard. They make lizard sounds when I'm around and I am ashamed.
Someone has gone to a lot of effort to block your DNA truth...
Whats ur mum been up to?
Emotionally, at this point in my life, I cannot deal with the idea that my mom cheated on my dad with a lizard.
48. What are the odds?
Kind of the opposite. I found out I have an older sister, apparently my dad was being a little promiscuous lol. RIP old man. And she also shares my birthday, what are the chances?!
Edit: for everyone sending me the probability, I get it lol. I just meant it's crazy that I found out I have an estranged older sister who just so happens to share my birthday as well. Pretty crazy to me anyway.
47. When your dad isn't your dad.
I just got off the phone with my newly found bio dad. My mom died in 1980, my dad in 2012. I logged Friday in to AncestryDNA to get my results from their Black Friday sale. It said that this person in NC was my father, no doubt. Turns out it was my moms boyfriend before my dad came along. I have no idea if anyone knew. My newly found father certainly didn't.
How was that conversation? You must be feeling a lot of feels!
I am indeed full of the feels. But I've had 24 hours to think about and cyber stalk the guy, I just sprung it on him at 6pm last night. I need to let him process.
46. This is pretty cool.
I discovered that I have some of the highest known Neanderthal DNA, more than 99% users and over 4% of my total DNA. 3 tests submitted and a flight provided to a university in Australia for a testing. Was cool at first, and then not.
It bothered my wife a bit at first thanks to watching a couple documentaries.
Not trying to sound rude, but are you different physically because of your higher than normal percentage of neanderthal DNA?
It's possible. A professor wouldn't talk to me directly, he talked to 20 other people about my x-rays and stuff. A lot was about my chest/torso, and arms and stuff.
45. This can't be easy to learn.
Not me, but one of my bar regulars did the test with her older sister. Turns out not only are they not related to each other, but both of them are adopted. And, their adoptive parents are both dead. And, their entire extended family knew the whole time but no one ever told them.
Bright side, two people chose very deliberately to adopt them as they were and raise them as their own and that's beautiful.
44. Malpractice much?
My 75-year-old grandmother just found out her dad was not her real dad. Turns out her mom had an affair with the family doctor and never told a single soul. Not only did she find out her family doctor was her real dad (the one who birthed not only her but also all of her own children) but turns out this family doctor was sleeping with a lot his patients. She now has a bunch of new half sisters and brothers, some of them knew who their real dad was and some of them didn't. My great grandmother was quite the secret keeper.
This just happened a lot in the past. Regardless if they are patients, it's an ethical violation even if the relationship was consensual. The power differential makes it an abuse of his position.
43. A common theme, it seems.
My dad turned out not to be my dad. So the basic 23andMe family surprise I guess? Also found out that my heritage can best be described as white mystery.
When my birth mom was pregnant with me she was too ashamed to admit who my father was. She was too young to be a mom and so she gave me to my current parents when I was born. (they were 10 years older than her and already had a kid) I love my parents and couldn't care who my birth father was but I wanted to see what I was made of.
Everyone was pretty pissed when we found out my dad was my birth dad.
That's a hell of a twist.
Honey, we have to tell you something....
You're... not adopted.
41. Mama was busy.
Not destroyed, it just confirmed what we already knew that there was more than one Father between 5 siblings. At least three as it turned out.
Yup. Love my mom but my late grandmother told me she had doubts that my older brother was my dads kid. Also, there is doubts of 2 of my half siblings who my father fought legally to gain custody of when they were very young.
We've agreed we'd rather not know and just be our own little messed up family of 6 children who love each other and their nieces/nephews dearly.
My siblings and I choose to love each other regardless of who is biologically related to who.
40. When Catholic guilt has its revenge.
Spouse found out his dad wasn't his dad. His judgmental holier than thou Catholic mom had some explaining to do. He lost an immense amount of respect for her, especially when the bio dad tried to reach out to him. She is still in contact with the married man she had an affair with over 4 decades ago. He refuses to speak to him and has limited contact with her.
That's brutal. Did his non bio dad find out too? That's got to be terrible to find out after so many years. I hope they still have a good relationship.
Yep, he did and they still have a good relationship. My husband doesn't discuss it with him because he doesn't want his mothers lies to compromise the relationship he's had for 4 decades.
39. Alzheimer's is terrifying and devastating. Would you want to know if you have the gene?
My grandpa passed away from Alzheimer's, so my family uploaded our raw DNA to another site to see if any of us have the same genes that make it likely for any of the rest of us to have it as well. Luckily most of us didn't have the gene my grandpa had, but my uncles have it. So while my immediate family knows we've got average chances, my poor uncles are probably dreading the future.
Edit: I used Promethease.
Yeah I'm trying to decide if I would want that information about myself or not. On the one hand, I like having information and planning. On the other hand, knowing that would probably make me sick with anxiety.
That's the other thing, we figure if we know, then we can do whatever we can to look out for things and actively try to prevent them. I think it was good for me, because I saw high probabilities for stuff like diabetes and heart problems that I already knew ran in my family. Things like this, I can actively try to prevent. But for things like Alzheimer's, I think living with the anxiety would be tough. Also, people are still figuring out DNA, so obviously you have to take results with a grain of salt, and it's hard to decide if it's worth the anxiety in case the results aren't even accurate.
38. I want a new family in France.
Ours was backwards. A French lady messaged my mom and said she thought they shared a father. Very believable because Papa was a proven whore. Sure enough she did a 23andMe and sure enough yep. Rest in peace.
Ay a new family member.
Yeap. I haven't talked to her yet. Mostly because I barely have time to give my mom attention let alone an aunt who I'd have to use Google translate with. I do think my other full aunts are sort of upset but not my mom. My mom realizes it isn't half aunt's fault. She was adopted out and has 4 or 5 other siblings on her mom's side all of them were adopted out and one of them ended up near us in america. Her bio mom really liked to sleep American soldiers apparently.
Anyways, she looks exactly like my great grandma!
37. Money money money money... money.
Husband found cousin who informed him of the passing of his estranged father. Father had some money in bank, family fought over the money.
They got the money even though they wanted nothing to do with him when alive. They still fought between themselves over it. So much more about this family they are piece of work. I have barely any contact with them.
36. When your DNA contains genetic fossils.
My family wasn't destroyed, but my Grandpa held the family record for Neanderthal DNA variants and I broke the family record by just a few. I have 1 more than my mom. I just thought I'd share.
Edit: Lots of people are asking. I have 318 variants, my mom has 317, and my grandpa has ~312.
Ever get the urge to paint a cave?
Would you say that you relate to the Flintstones on a personal level?
Yes. sometimes I just Yabba Dabba do.
Ever feel like calling the ACLU on Geico for "so easy a caveman could do it?"
Definitely. My caveman blood starts to boil and I consider a civil lawsuit every time.
As is the caveman way.
35. No Danny Boy!Giphy
I found out I'm not Irish after taking one.... I have an Irish tattoo. My mom's family always bragged about how Irish we were. My life obviously wasn't destroyed but funny anyways.
It was over twenty years ago, I was 18 and stupid. The tattoo is a nautical compass with a Celtic knot in the middle on my shoulder. Josh__1980
34. Is this Sex Ed?
Can't speak for myself but one of my old high school teachers took an Ancestry DNA test and found out his dad wasn't actually his biological father. His mom had cheated on her husband. He joked around so much that when he told our class, I thought he was joking. Nope. fionalemon
33. Oh... by the way....
Family wasn't destroyed but my dad found out he has a 43 year old daughter he never knew about that was conceived when he was 16, (I was his oldest, I'm 23) and my mom found out her grandad had an illegitimate child there was no record of. Wild. bright-noise
32. Sounds like an episode of 'Dynasty.'Giphy
My mom's coworker (adopted) took the test and found a full sibling match (and then found out she had actually 4 full siblings). The coworker and sibling made contact but couldn't piece together the story so the sibling put her in touch with her bio parents. Both of them flat out denied that she was their daughter and freaked out.
After a few go-arounds with the parents, the dad admitted to this lady that she was their daughter but the mother had gotten pregnant super young and they weren't ready to start a family so they sent her to one of those homes where she gave birth and immediately put her up for adoption. Then the parents just decided it never happened and lived their lives (got married, had kids) like they didn't give their first born child up for adoption because of societal pressures. But the mother actually believes she never had this first daughter because of some psychotic break and cannot accept her own reality as truth. ToniLobotomy
31. The Unwanted....
My wife has a cousin that was adopted. He was finally able to find his bio parents and he had several full siblings. As an only child, he was so happy and reached out only to be told he wasn't one of them. He was dropped off for adoption because he was born after the parents divorce and no one wanted him, including his siblings. Really heartbreaking to hear about because he'd always wanted this big family and they wouldn't accept him. PhukYoo2
30. Leaving well enough alone....
It's not something that has happened but it's a fear I have. I don't have the same father as the rest of my siblings and it's not a secret but I'm the only one who knows my father was not a past boyfriend but just some psycho who kidnapped and assaulted my mother. My younger (half) sister is always carrying on about all of us getting those things done and has insinuated she's thinking of buying us all a kit. I'm really apprehensive about that because if my sperm donor has other family members who have done it, and that's not far fetched at all, I'll be linked to them and I DO NOT WANT THAT. I think I know who he was and I definitely don't want confirmation of that staring me in the face, or relatives of his trying to get in touch with me, or anything else like that at all. ChristopherRabbit
29. It's never too late....
My grandmother found out she was adopted and had two sisters with kids who also.... have kids. opened some new chapters and closed some too. She is 76 years old. beachmasterbogeynut
28. A Score!
Actually wasn't destroyed, added an aunt that was older than my grandparent's relationship so it meant no cheating. I'm just sad that she was never given the opportunity to meet her dad. She is an extremely charitable person and I am excited to meet her at some point. papablessurprivilege
Meet her soon. We just found my Mom's family a couple years ago, we've been looking for 20ish years. The coolest person, my uncle, just passed away from a surprising illness. I meet him all of three times. It was meeting him that helped me realized I wasn't the only one in the family like me, introverted with a very strange humor. He was in his late 50's.... You don't know how long you have. rawrvenger
27. This Family is Closed....
My aunt's birth mom was married when she got pregnant by my granddad. Her mom's husband wasn't a fan of raising someone else's kid so they sent her to live with other family members.
This was before my granddad and grandmom were together but my grandmom was still pretty upset that he had a kid with someone else (even though he didn't know about her).
My aunt is a very charitable person and never got a chance to meet her dad either. Most of my family is pretty closed-minded and don't want to associate with her. They all seem to think she wants something from us (i.e. money) but all she wants is to get to know her dad's side of the family. Tanlyss
26. Infidelity Wars
Family wasn't destroyed... But we are still trying to figure out who cheated. It's narrowed down to between two or three generations. But not exactly sure who it was. ancientflowers
Same thing happened with us. My great-great grandfather cheated on his pregnant wife with the neighbor. My aunt found out when she had a match with a stranger and they found out they lived in the same town in the late 1800s. lillian0
My mother got an extra half sister, about the same age as her younger sister, and turned out they were in the same class at school and there is one photo of them together in a school photo about age 15. No big dramas, grandfather who did the dirty has been dead over 30 years so he escaped it. Surviving siblings were a little miffed and my mother recalled a temporary split of her parents, but it caused no big drama. finackles
24. Fingers Crossed...
I have just sent mine in, and I'm anxiously awaiting the results. I was adopted at birth, and met my biological parents 10 years ago (I found them after an exhaustive search). My bio father's mother (my bio grandmother) was adopted at birth, and my biological mother was adopted as well. I pretty much know about 25% of my background (bio grandpa), and my whole family is curious to see what comes out of it! mechanchic
23. Thank you God!
I wouldn't say mine was destroyed but it was definitely a Godsend. When my grandma passed, my aunt went through her old journals and found out three of her five kids weren't fathered by my drunken, abusive grandfather. One of the non-biological children was my dad. I hated my relatives - my family is full of, I kid you not, drug kings (my uncle), thieves, and jailbirds. My dad confirmed through ancestry that not only is the a**hole who raised him not his father, but he's apparently of the swap-babies of the 60's, so his mother isn't even his mother. He cut ties with everyone since he's no longer got any obligation to talk to anyone. AstronomyWhore
22. Photo ProofGiphy
This is related but not from a DNA test. My father always told us stories about how his father was very hard on him and very generous to his sister. My grandmother divorced his father when he was young and married grandpa's best friend. He, grandma's second husband, died before I was born so I'd never met him. When I was in college I was looking through some old photos to get a picture of grandma and grandpa for some project I was doing.
I found a close up black and white old time looking picture of my father in his forties or so that I had never seen before. Strangely, he had blonde hair. My father had dark, almost black hair for most of his life. I turned the picture over, it was dated forty years ago and was labeled with the name of my grandmothers SECOND husband, my grandfathers BEST FRIEND. They were virtually identical. Being the stupid girl that I was, I pointed it out to my father who went ballistic! It seems I stumbled upon a family secret, a very painful family secret. Blameking27
21. Oh Brother.....
I am in the process of finding out! I clearly have a half brother and no one knows who this person is! We share an insane amount of DNA cMs but not quite enough to be full siblings. It is weird and he won't answer my messages on ancestry.com. It says he hasn't logged in since April though. pillow_pooter
20. A new Dad....
No destruction, but 23andme showed me the dad who I knew as a child (left early, so no real relationship) wasn't my bio dad. Then about a year later, my sister on my bio dad's side (I thought I was an only child and didn't know who bio dad was) reached out because 23andme told her about me. Now I have a bio dad, a brother, and a sister. They are all really nice and we are all trying to forge a new relationship.
They are all coming over in about 2 hours where my wife and daughter will meet the dad for the first time. They've already met the brother and sister. I have nothing but good things to say about what 23andme did for me. caudron
19. Lovers & SiblingsGiphy
Throwaway for obvs reasons.
Lived next door to my best friend, and her family, all through my childhood and young adult life. Graduated from high school, friend and I had a weekend bender to celebrate, and hooked up, started dating. Fast forward a few years, to late November this year, we decide to try a test, just for craps and/or giggles.
Turns out she's my half sister on the paternal side. Apparently my dad and her mom had been having an affair, and she got pregnant. Both parents are getting divorced, and we haven't been able to look at each other since. Throwaway11992288336
18. Mystery Solved!
I mean the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer went undiscovered for almost 40 years for horrific crimes until one of his relatives spit into a tube for 23andme or one of the other genetics services, matching DNA on file and leading criminologists right to his door.
So that's a bad day for that guy and a great one for the rest of us. UncleGoldie
17. Just Vanilla....
Husband's grandmother was going on and on about how her grandmother was 100% Cherokee Indian. My MIL and I never believed her. The test results come back with zero percent Native American, so she starts saying the whole thing is a huge scam. Honey, no. You're white all the way. hejgurlhej
16. Lost Truth.
Family wasn't destroyed but my hopes for knowing my birth parents were.
Using the DNA testing I found my birth parents (confirmed by CPS documents) and reached out. They want nothing to do with me. I had always imagined some great meeting but now I just know it will never happen.
It hurts to know that they don't want to know me more than not knowing anything. Lalina13
15. Well that's Boring....
In my family there's a lot of tumultuous relationships and occasional infidelity. So after decades of speculation and rumors, a bunch of us decided to get tested through Ancestry.com and settle any lingering questions. Frankly we just weren't mentally prepared for the results we received.
Turns out we're all related to each other after all. No mystery babies, new cousins, or missing dads. I'm still shocked and haven't come to terms with it, tbh. Ghost_In_The_Valero
I think this is my favorite. PANTSorGTFO
I like that this is the complete opposite of everything else in this thread. It must suck to know you're related to people you wish you weren't! Star_Statics
Jerry Springer would make a great comeback if he partnered with 23andme! s4g4n
I remember when it was about other things aside from "You are (not) the father." episodes. sonicz3r0
13. Fake News
Late to the party but my dad just found out a couple of days before Christmas that none of his sisters are full blooded. My grandma told him that DNA testing is bull so he'll probably never find out who his real father is. spiralpath
I had a positive outcome. I have had multiple cancers. The latest and reoccurrence of breast cancer. My first visit to the mayo clinic they did a DNA pharmacology test on me. To find out what drugs actually work with my DNA type. They confirmed that the original drugs that I was taking where ineffective with my DNA type. Starting treatment with a new drug regime and hoping for a positive outcome. Techfromhell
11. An Overdrawn Account....
Obligatory also not destroyed, but we found out my dad donated sperm in the mid-late 80s and now I have at least 9 half siblings. They used it a lot. A few of them didn't know they were sperm donations and not their fathers blood relative. Met some of em and we got along great. Wasn't cheating but my mom isn't stoked about it. Haha. hackcomstock
10. More to Love....Giphy
AncestryDNA didn't destroy my family, but I was able to meet my biological father. My parents used IVF to have children and from the limited info we had before the testing, I assumed that part of my genetic makeup would remain a mystery. It was an eye opening experience and I am glad I did it. osc43s
9. Worldwide Family....
We thought there were 4 of us kids. Actually there are 13. Dad was a pig and a narcissist: there are 4 kids with his first name (2 of them female). Many are same age or younger or older than us so: cheating. He even had a daughter who is OLDER THAN MY MOM.
I made it my mission to meet them all and let me tell you: nature had way more influence than nurture. I wouldn't have believed this until I met my siblings who grew up in different countries speaking different languages and with all kinds of different upbringing yet we had: same laugh same taste in food/music/film/fashion same sense of humor same general level of success same mannerisms same intelligence same friggin' quirks and other things you'd think come about by experience. We are the same people. aiandi
8. Isn't that a movie?
Not destroyed, but we did find out that two family members have been sperm donors. One has 40+ children, is unmarried, and likely lost his last serious relationship after she found out. The other only has one donor kid that we know of, but he's married and has a family. Wife was not happy, but the donation was over 30 years ago. RealCoolShoes
7. Find the Connection....
Not me, but my wife. She got a match with someone that didn't make sense. She reached out to them, and it turns out she has a brother that she didn't know about. Turns out her scummy dad cheated on her mom when my wife was very young, and that produced a son. My wife's mom and dad divorced when she was 5 from another cheating incident, so while surprising, it wasn't at the same time.
Everyone has met and they are trying to get a relationship going, which I think is cool. It wasn't my wife's brother's fault he was illegitimately conceived, the parents have been long divorced on my wife's side, so the weirdness is largely minimized. pimptastical
6. Back in the Day....
My family wasn't destroyed, but we finally found out who my mom's long-lost first cousin was.. and funnily enough, she lives like 45 minutes away from us (and lived in several of the same cities we did when growing up). Her father was a prominent figure in the state she was born and so they sent my great aunt to one of those "unwed mothers" homes and forced her to give the baby up for adoption.
Now my mom and her kiddos (including myself) have a budding relationship with this woman and she basically gained a new family shortly after her adoptive parents passed away. The rest of my mom's siblings and first cousins have some coming around to do, but the nice thing is our new relative can choose whether or not she wants to engage with them. hermi0ninny
5. Thank you FacePlace.Giphy
My mom and I did ancestry last year for Christmas and found out her birth dad wasn't her actual dad and we were able to find out who her real dad was (both deceased) because one of her birth cousins found her on Facebook and contacted her and they put the puzzle together.
My grandma had an affair with her husband with someone he was serving in the military with and when we brought it up to her she denied it ever happening and then we were going through old photo albums and found a picture of the 3 of there where on the back she wrote the month and year with "had an affair with (his name)" And still denies it. itsNxte
I have an 86 year old friend that found out he has another son (has 6 kids by an ex wife). The guy is 61 and has been looking for his father all of his life. My friend only went out with the mother twice and then she disappeared. They met for the first time this month. I hope they have several more years to get to spend time together. SierraBravo22
3. Family History....
I'm adopted and did it to try and find some answers to a few basic questions. I looked at the relative's thing and a 4th-5th cousin contacted me. My family told me to stop talking to them and I disconnected from that part completely. Deep down I really feel the need to know who at least my great great grandmother is. I think I honestly deserver to know who that one person was. My family has a deep history I am sure of it knowing what country we are from. I'm watching everyone get to find people who are related.
I understand why I had to disconnect but it hurts me secretly. I know in 10+ years there may be less and less of a chance of some older family being alive. I want to know my family's WW2 history and experience. I want to know who died in the war and who got sent off and was never seen again and I want to know who came home. chainandscale
2. Numbers Never Lie....Giphy
Not destroyed but... it's odd. I learned my father was not my biological father. He died a few months before I took the test but apparently, he knew and didn't want me to know. I didn't get the chance to tell him it didn't matter. Also apparently my Mom doesn't know my bio-fathers name either it since it's been over 30 years.
Wasn't even an affair, she met dad like a month later. The math of the pregnancy had always been tight so it makes sense, but now I wonder what to do. 23andme has 3 close family connections supposedly and no one on moms side has used it. I wonder sometimes about opting in. surfingbored
Your mum's lying. 😬 you don't just forget the name of who knocked you up. That's just not how it works. Sure if you've had many sexual partners you might not be able to list them off in full but the ones you father your kids you remember. Unless she has dementia or something I guess. Good luck. Reddit
Yes, a woman may not know the name of the man who impregnated her if it was a one night stand, or he was using a nickname, or drugs involved. I knew a woman who hooked up with a guy at a rock concert and then never saw him again but yet had his son. This type of thing would exactly lead to a DNA match with unknown relatives like in this reddit thread. econobiker
1. Blood is Truth!
I don't think it's been destroyed but recently my stepmom found out through Ancestry that she has an older brother from before her father met her mother.
Her entire family worshipped their alcoholic, dead beat, military school graduate, "veteran" father (in quotes because he was only in the military because he was a creepy little teenager and he was put in military school as punishment and he never actually saw action). From what she's told me he was abusive but she talks about it like he raised her up to be tough.
Anyway, her sister and oldest brother were really empathetic to this poor guy who has never known who his family was, he was adopted out as an infant, but her middle and youngest brothers are being crappy about it.
The half-brother's daughter did a lot of the digging and reached out to people she found on Facebook. Many in the family were not receptive to her reaching out.
My step-mom's middle brother said it's "creepy" and that they're "stalking the family" because they did their research. He sees it as an unwelcome intrusion because they've gone 60 years not knowing this guy existed. The youngest brother, anytime my stepmom says anything about their new brother he corrects her and says "half."
I'm glad some siblings are being welcoming in the family to this man but I find it appalling that grown adults would sit there and reject him as their brother like some of them are doing or say nasty things insinuating that he had no business looking them up all these years later. Many people in the family are trying to say it's a scam and that he's going to start asking for money or saying stuff like it's not real because they don't believe their father slept around like that. DNA doesn't lie, though.
I know second-rejection is a fear a lot of adopted people have when searching for their families so I feel sorry for him. bonezillion
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.