Viewpoint: 54 years later, DNA testing revealed my secret biological father

| | January 10, 2019
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Image credit: Michael Maren/Penguin Random House
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

One evening in the winter of 2016, my husband mentioned that he was sending away for one of those commercial DNA-testing kits. He asked if I wanted him to order me one.

The results, when I received them a few months later, changed everything I had ever understood about myself. I was only half Eastern European Ashkenazi, as it turned out. A person I had never heard of was identified as a first cousin. The truth was unavoidable. My beloved father, who died in a car accident when I was 23, had not been my biological father.

[In 1961, my parents] were told that a “treatment” was available to help solve my dad’s infertility. A practice of the day was to mix donor sperm with the intended father’s sperm, in order to keep alive the possibility that the child was biologically his.

Related article:  Inaccuracies in consumer genetic tests for BRCA mutations prompt call for crackdown from UK doctors

It took just 36 hours from the time I learned that my dad was not my biological father until I found the man who was. He was 78–a retired physician and medical ethicist–and I can imagine how stunned he must have been to receive my email.

Donating sperm or eggs is not the same as donating a kidney, a retina, a liver, a heart. It carries with it something that all the science in the world can’t make sense of: I’ll call it the soul.

Read full, original post: How a DNA Testing Kit Revealed a Family Secret Hidden for 54 Years

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