Making Your Existence Known to Bio Family - Should You or Shouldn't You?

Making Your Existence Known to Bio Family - Should You or Shouldn't You?

I had someone reach out to me a few months ago who was adopted and had reunited with his birth mom before she died after she sought him out. He never had interest in seeking out and reuniting with his birth father but accidentally matched to his (now deceased) bio father's family (an entire set of half-siblings) when doing an ancestry DNA test.

"What is NPE?" - A guest post by Steven King provides information and support for the surprise discovery in your family

WHAT IS NPE? BY STEVEN KING

A Non- Paternity Event (“NPE”) was originally the term used to explain the break in the paternal line for a male. In genetics and genealogy, the term signified that a person’s attributed father was not their biological father and that the family surname did not match the bloodline. Someone was presumed to be an individual’s father by the individual, the parents, their family or the healthcare practitioner involved. Today, the term is used more broadly to describe a break in the family line; for males or females with a misattributed father or mother. The acronym “NPE” is also used to describe individuals who learned they were conceived as a result of the event. Some also use the acronym to mean “Not Parent Expected.” 

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

I came to know Michelle and Eden when they joined the first secret support group I set up for people receiving DNA surprises for themselves or for someone’s DNA account they manage.

I asked the two of them to respond separately to some questions I had. The responses shed light to us as readers on how the same “DNA Surprise” event can be experienced differently.

You can read their detailed responses in the post here.

National Society of Genetic Counselors posts leaders' experience with ancestry testing for Hispanic Heritage Month

Two lovely genetic counselors and leaders within the National Society of Genetic Counselors paired up to experience and write about having ancestry testing to learn more about their Hispanic roots. As NSGC’s Ancestry Expert, I was invited along to provide commentary. The post went up recently, just in time to recognize Hispanic Heritage month. Check it out!

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

I’ve spoken with a few parents of children who were adopted, and DNA testing is clearly on the radar for many of these families. News reports and TV shows that highlight adoption reunions facilitated by DNA and health discoveries from genetic research have piqued the interest of many.

I’ve compiled ten tips for adoptive parents based on common questions and issues. The focus is on parents of children under the age of 18, but these points can apply to other families as well, such as those who included egg, sperm, or embryo donation in building their family.

Bringing you the latest Base Pair, Marc and Janet

Bringing you the latest Base Pair, Marc and Janet

The Base Pair posts are a series I started to highlight professionals in medical genetics who are a stellar team or have a special history that bonds them, like genetic base pairs A, T, G, and C in a DNA double helix. This Base Pair post is about Janet and Marc Williams, a beloved pair in the world of medical genetics and genetic counseling.

Digging Deeper into a Promethease Finding Before Accepting It as Truth

Digging Deeper into a Promethease Finding Before Accepting It as Truth

I recently worked with a client who was adopted and had used a raw data file and the Promethease tool as an avenue to obtain some health/medical information for herself.

This case gets a little complicated but please stick with it; it demonstrates a lot of the areas where there is weakness in our understanding and communication of medical genetics data.

The case also highlights the importance of doing deeper investigation of findings that show up on a Promethease report, before accepting the report’s summary at face value. I write about 23andMe and Promethease in the summary, but my conclusion is true for any tool (Genetic Genie, Sequencing.com reports, etc.) run on any raw data file (AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, etc).

Megyn Kelly Today Shows covers "DNA Shocks"

Megyn Kelly Today Shows covers "DNA Shocks"

Megyn Kelly is a host on NBC who covers a lot of DNA topics on her weekday talk show, Megyn Kelly Today. Last week, she invited myself and a few other guests to talk about either personal or professional experiences related to DNA shocks or surprises. If you missed it, you can view the three segments below.

Orientation to the Watershed DNA Website

If you have come here as result of seeing the Megyn Kelly Today show segment on DNA shocks, welcome! I want to familiarize you with the Watershed DNA site so you can find the information you came here to look for. 

Across the top of the screen (or along the right hand side, if you're on a smart phone), you will find the navigation bar. It may look like a series of three lines. If you click on it, a menu of tabs will appear. 

Confidential online support groups for DNA surprises

I started a few secret support groups that were discussed here in an article by Sarah Zhang, writer for The Atlantic. I originally started these groups for a friend and some clients who expressed a desire for support and understanding from others who who had been in their shoes before. Since then, the groups have grown to include people who have heard about the group via word of mouth, past blog posts, and interviews I've given in which I've discussed them.

Draft Language for Reaching Out to a DNA Match

I've gotten some questions about how to approach an unexpected DNA match and try to open up the lines for communication. I've posted some draft language here for you to get a sense of what I've written or advised other people to write in the past. 

Brianne's interview with Fisher of the Extreme Genes podcast about DNA surprises

Brianne's interview with Fisher of the Extreme Genes podcast about DNA surprises

It was a pleasure to speak with Scott Fisher of the Extreme Genes podcast! We discussed family DNA surprises that people are finding out about when they use at-home testing. Scott invited me on to talk about this as this is a subject close to him -- he once had to share the shocking news with a friend that her DNA results suggested the father who raised her was not her biological father. 

Check out episode 249 to hear our discussion and understand more about how Watershed DNA came to be and how I help people who have gotten DNA surprises after an at-home test.