How to tell if an online DNA test is legitimate 

How to tell if an online DNA test is legitimate 

There are many varieties of DNA testing, some that are extensive scans of your DNA and some that provide focused or partial information. You can test for information about ethnicity, you can search for genetic relatives by matching their DNA, or you can search for information with medical significance. Some of the options you can only have through a medical provider, and others you can order for yourself directly over the Internet.

It’s hard to know who to trust, especially if you find them on the Internet and order the test for yourself. As a person who has taken many of these tests and a licensed and certified genetic counselor who works with people who test, I’ll explore the benefits and limitations of these testing options next.  

"Dear Brianne, I'm adopted...Where do I even start?"

"Dear Brianne, I'm adopted...Where do I even start?"

I have people reach out through my website who are adopted or donor conceived and are at the very start of a search, asking where do I even start? It can be overwhelming trying to learn all of the ins and outs of searching whether using access to records or DNA testing.

Here’s how I responded to a recent query:  

IRS gives go-ahead to claim tax break for 23andMe's health-related DNA testing

IRS gives go-ahead to claim tax break for 23andMe's health-related DNA testing

The Wall Street Journal and other news sources have recently covered a new development in health care coverage and at-home DNA test sold by 22andMe. Because of its FDA-approved reports, US customers of 23andMe can request reimbursement for part of their testing. Other at-home DNA testing companies have not received FDA approval yet, so the IRS ruling only affects 23andMe testers at this time.

Grouping 23andMe test into a category with clinical genetic tests sends a mixed messages. So I am going to fill in some gaps for you…

Sarah and Talya: The newest Base Pair shares a love of reading (and discussing) books

Sarah and Talya: The newest Base Pair shares a love of reading (and discussing) books

In the Base Pair series, we get a chance to learn about genetics professionals (genetic counselors and geneticists) who have partnered up to pursue a project together. I ask them to share a bit of the back-story, how they came to be partnered with their buddy. Origin stories like these can be so powerful because they open our eyes to new and different opportunities. When we see how the paths of others have crossed, it helps us look at the people in our lives in a different way as well.

Books & Things book seller carries The DNA Guide for Adoptees

Books & Things book seller carries The DNA Guide for Adoptees

Books & Things is a book seller for all things genealogy, and we are pleased to announce they now carry The DNA Guide for Adoptees! You can find it for sale in their online book store and also in stock at their on-site book sales at upcoming genealogy conferences. The first conference will be the IHGR Conference in Athens, Georgia, from July 8th thru the 27th, 2019.

Severance Magazine, The Beagle Has Landed podcast, and other resources on the topic of DNA Family Surprises

Severance Magazine, The Beagle Has Landed podcast, and other resources on the topic of DNA Family Surprises

When a new resource becomes available that I think will help my clients and the readers of my blog, I try to highlight them. This week I have three to share - one a website, one a book, and one a podcast.

Severance Magazine is a new resource for the growing group of individuals who learn they have been separated by biological relatives. You can read articles, news, connect with other resources, and share your own story through print and video. Those who will benefit included those who are adopted, donor conceived, NPE (“not the parent expected”), and the less-common situations of those who have been switched at birth, kidnapped, or abandoned as children.

High ROH - a topic covered in a chapter of "The DNA Guide for Adoptees"

I recently got this feedback on The DNA Guide for Adoptees from a reader:

“I learned a lot! Very informative and sensitive to so many things.  I especially appreciated how tactfully written the high ROH chapter was (high ROH=when birth parents are related to each other). It’s a sensitive topic but was very tactfully done.

The reader continued on… 

The DNA Guide for Adoptees - #1 New Release in Genetics on Amazon

The DNA Guide for Adoptees - #1 New Release in Genetics on Amazon

Exciting news today as The DNA Guide for Adoptees has released in #1 new release for genetics. I’m looking forward to the information and support falling into people’s hands whether their preference is paperback or Kindle.

The book covers a lot of ground and is divided into four sections:

  • Getting Started

  • Bringing Science and Research Together through Genetic Genealogy

  • What to Do After the DNA Testing is Done

  • DNA Tests and the Search for Health Information

Mental Health Awareness and my thoughts on "Baby Doe" cases

Mental Health Awareness and my thoughts on "Baby Doe" cases

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and today I am opening the conversation about a hidden issue that affects millions of Americans and others around the globe. This was a painful post to write as it brought up difficult memories from my past professional work.

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The book "The DNA Guide for Adoptees" currently available on Amazon for Kindle preorders is nearing publication! On May 30th, readers can find it on Kindle and in print in a paperback version. My co-author Shannon and I are busily preparing to be ready for reader questions and comments and are planning genealogy and genetics conference booth appearances in the summer and fall.

Should people having at-home DNA tests for medical purposes?

Should people having at-home DNA tests for medical purposes?

I’m often asked for my thoughts on whether at-home DNA tests should be used for medical purposes, since they are the only option some people can afford.

This a complex question, but it is one I have thought about and continue to think about.

It’s hard to answer succinctly because of all the moving parts -- access to an ordering provider for clinical DNA tests, additional costs for getting customized support or counseling support, the next steps to take in the medical system if a test is positive, etc. -- I address some of these in my recently published book since I am very close to all of these moving pieces and will write just a bit about it here.