People who’ve had their families upended by DNA websites reveal what happened.
According to Divorce Statistics, 2% to 3% of all children are born out of infidelity and most of these children are unknowingly raised by men who are not their biological fathers.
These days, with the availability of so many DNA websites like 23andMe and Ancestry, a lot of people are discovering things that maybe they didn't really want.
A viral post on the askReddit forum asked how these new websites have affected families — "People whose families have been destroyed by 23andme and other DNA sequencing services, what went down?"
Here are the best responses to the question:
1. Finding family
“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.”
“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.”
3. What are the chances?
“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?!”
4. He didn’t know
“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.”
“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.”
6. No one ever told them
“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.”
“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.”
8. White mystery
“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.”
10. At least three
“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.”
11. Holier than thou
“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.”
12. Dreading the future
“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.”
13. Oh, Papa
“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 papa is a great big slut. Rest in peace.”
14. I feel like this probably happens a lot
“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.”
15. A happy ending
“My story has a rough beginning, but a happy ending. I apologize, this will be a bit lengthy.
I ordered 23andme to try to figure out 'what' I was, not to track down any long lost family members. I had known since I was a teenager that my dad who raised me wasn’t my biological father. I used to ask my mom if I was adopted because I don’t look like anyone in my family.
My mom is almost 100% Irish and my dad (who raised me, he is and always will be my dad) is also Caucasian and I look a bit ethnically ambiguous. Olive (but fair) skin, dark hair, and green eyes; no one else in my family looked like me. My mom finally told me the truth when i was 16.
When I got my report back, I was mostly European by my breakdown, I was still confused. I had several cousins show up, but contacting them didn’t interest me at all. One day I got a notification that I had new relatives and a half sister popped up. This caught me completely off guard and I didn’t know what to do…because I wanted to contact her.
For the first time ever, I wanted to know more. I messaged her, not telling anything about myself, just that if she’d like to know more about me, I would be open with all that I knew. I never got a reply, this kind of broke my heart if I’m being honest, but I accepted that she probably knew nothing of me and that the revelation of my existence may have hurt their family horribly.
A few months later a second cousin popped up and she was shown to be the first cousin of my 'half sister,' this confused me even more. Why was she my second cousin and my half sisters first cousin? She contacted me because she thought I may have answers for her, I told her that I had tried to contact my half sister but heard nothing and apologized for not being able to help her. (Her story is oddly similar to mine.) She also told me that she had communicated briefly with her first cousin, but after bringing me up, she cut off contact with her.
That made me feel horrible. But through our brief interaction, i realized that the three of us were connected through my 'half sisters' maternal blood line. I know my mom is my mom, there’s no question there, so I started thinking, how could this be?..then I realized that my “half sister” was actually my aunt, my biological father’s sister. Half-siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents all share 25% of their DNA, all the connections on these websites are based on probability.
I messaged her again and told her that I thought she may be my aunt and I told her more about myself…my birthdate and where I was conceived, and that if she had a brother who was in that area at that time, he was my biological father. She messaged me back in no time. It turns out that my paternal grandfather had passed away years ago and when she got the first message and saw the half sister connection, she assumed her father had a child that none of them knew about. I’m younger than her and her siblings, obviously, so I would have come along after them.
She didn’t contact me because she didn’t want to hurt her mother, and I’m sure she was hurt by this too. I understood, completely. She then went on to tell me that they all knew about me but didn’t want to disrupt my life. She said my biological father never forgot about me…I had always thought I was his dirty little secret. (He and my mother were both married to other people when I was conceived..that’s another long story.)
Anyways, my husband, children, and I have since met them all. I actually have three half siblings that also knew about me. It was so strange to finally meet people who I resemble. I’m a spitting image of my paternal grandmother when she was young, they were all blown away by that. We stay in contact and I couldn’t be happier that I bought the 23andme kit.”
A version of this article was originally published by our partners at Did You Know Facts and was written by Matt Gilligan.