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

dani shapiro x ppi
Image credit: Michael Maren/Penguin Random House

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.

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[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:  Consumer genetic health-test market expands: Ancestry launches new service, paired with professional counseling

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.

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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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