Last week, I was interviewed by Theral Timpson for the Mendelspod podcast episode called “Family Surprises Care of the DNA Test.”
There is a lot of misinformation spreading online about a gene all of us have called MTHFR. (We each have two copies it, actually: one from mom and one from dad.)
Self Magazine published an article this week specifically addressing the MTHFR gene and all the facts we know about it. It was written by Tara C. Smith, a person with a PhD in epidemiology. Epidemiology is the study of how different factors influence the health of people, and those with a PhD are trained to understand the outcome of studies at both the group level (large populations) and at the individual level (YOU!).
I read this article yesterday and feel like it is the BEST ARTICLE to date on MTHFR. It will be accessible to most readers, no matter your level of knowledge about DNA or genetics research.
The news of just how many people receive surprises about their family matching from DNA tests is spreading.
As a genetic counselor and genealogy enthusiast, I saw this coming years ago (2014) when the first people began finding their way to me in search of support and information.
In anticipation of the growth, I’ve accumulated many resources and posted them freely on my website, I’ve posted the stories of those who have been through these experiences as guest blog posts, and started and administer secret support groups on Facebook.
YOU RECENTLY DISCOVERED A HALF-SIBLING. DID THIS SURPRISE COME OUT OF THE BLUE?
Jessica: I was not surprised to find out about a half-sibling as my dad was single after my mother and him divorced when I was five and did not re-marry until I was 10. He dated frequently during that time, from what I remember. My older sister made the discovery when she submitted her DNA first and found a “close relative” match but did not understand the implications until later.
Recently my sister asked my dad if he would be interested in taking a DNA test for genealogy purposes at which time he admitted he had another daughter. He figured it would come out if he ended up going through with the DNA test.
The recorded re-telling of a painful and emotional experience of uncovering a DNA surprise is helpful for others to read. It supports and validates others who are going through the same thing, and it provides insight for the friends, family, and professionals who will be there alongside a person on their journey following the unexpected discovery.
An important point that my next guest blogger, Christa, makes is that receiving the truth from her mother rather than denial held so much value to her. She was so grateful that her mom ‘came clean’ straight away when she came to her with the discovery that the father she had grown up believing was her biological father was not.
I recently spoke with Brian Hickey who writes for PhillyVoice. In this piece which covers the topic of support after unexpected DNA discoveries, I shared my thoughts on the topic and touched briefly on the role grief and support play in these experiences.
You can find the article HERE.
A story was posted a few days ago on Reddit by someone claiming to have discovered he and his girlfriend are half-siblings, the discovery coming after both opted in to the DNA Relatives feature for their 23andMe test.
Both reportedly knew they were donor-conceived and were on the hunt for their paternal biological families, but apparently neither was suspecting the possibility they may have come from the same sperm donor. The discovery was reportedly and understandably traumatic, with the relationship being ended same-day and temporary thoughts of suicide mentioned by the writer of the Reddit post.
Many of us take medications to stay healthy and treat conditions such as depression and cardiovascular disease. However, some people respond differently to some medicines, and part of that difference is due to our genetic makeup. Genetic tests that identify and characterize these variations are available, and you may be wondering if those tests are a good idea for you. Here are some points to consider:
I recently spoke with Sonya Collins who writes for WebMD Magazine. I shared my thoughts and advice on at home DNA tests based on years of both personal and professional experience, and I was pleased to see TWO articles come from it!
Please read, especially the second article! It will equip you to be a savvy chooser of a DNA tests you might purchase online and you can find more detailed advice than what made it into the article HERE.
Blogging to Cope with My DNA Surprise: Stacey’s Story
A couple of weeks after my 41st birthday, my world as I knew it changed forever. It’s a story we’ve now all heard: a DNA sample submitted to an ancestry website revealed unexpected biological data. After asking my parents about it, they finally revealed that the man who raised me was not my biological father. I had so many questions - who was my biological father? Why did they lie? How could they keep it from me for so long? Who knew?