"I think I figured out my father isn't my father, but I don't know what to do now."

If you’re searching the web because your DNA test results have totally taken you aback, I am so sorry you are going through this. Ancestry tests work like paternity testing, in that they are able to detect whether or not you are matching to close biological family correctly or not. The results can be confusing, especially to someone not familiar with the way ancestry test results are displayed.

If your results just came back today and someone you are expecting to see in your match list isn’t there, first of all give it a few days - make sure the testing company’s system has had a chance to finish working through and matching you to their large database of other testers. Sometimes you just need a little more time for all your DNA matches to show up properly.

Where can you turn for support?

If after a few days your expected match still isn’t showing, some people choose turn to Facebook groups like DNA Detectives to explain the situation and crowd-source an answer or support.

In these places, you’ll find discovers who like you have discovered misattributed for themselves or for other people. Sometimes people refer to themselves as “NPEs” - an acronym for non-parental event or not parent expected - when they are talking about the discovery. You’ll come across “NPE” if you search the topic. 

  1. If you’re on Facebook, I’ll be happy to add you to the secret support group I set up for misattributed parentage. You will see immediately you are not alone and everything you are experiencing others have been and are going through as well. There are some other secret support groups on Facebook, such as DNA surprise support group and NPE Friends. An offshoot of NPE Friends is a recently-established non-profit organization called NPE Friends Fellowship.

  2. The Megyn Kelly Today Show covered the topic of DNA surprises in September of 2018. You can watch others share their stories and listen to my comments during the expert segment at the end about the implication of DNA testing and surprise discoveries.

I have a few blog posts written by others who have been part of a DNA surprise. You might find some comfort in reading their stories. You can find a list of them in the Resources for You tab of my website, in the “DNA Surprise” section.

Seeking an independent analysis of your DNA results?

If you want an independent analysis to confirm your discovery, you are welcome to schedule with me as a client. If you provide me the information about your family and allow me to review your matches, I can give you a second opinion and give you other possibilities to think about (donor sperm used without your parents knowledge or without them telling you? infidelity? an accidental sample swap within a family? lab error?). I’ll help you rein in the panic that you understandably might be going through and make sure you’re considering all of the possibilities for your surprise results before making a conclusion.

I wish you the very best and hope that whatever your situation, you find support soon.


For more, check out my resource page.