Anonymous no more: AncestryDNA test reveals identity of woman’s stem cell donor

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Image: jxfzsy/istock.com

In 2017, Holly Becker took an AncestryDNA test, and the results, she would only later learn, exactly matched those of a young man in New York. This was strange, but the test was not wrong. She really did have his DNA inside her. Two decades ago, she had undergone an umbilical-cord-blood transplant to treat her non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The anonymous donor’s cells became her cells, and they still course through her body today. That is what the AncestryDNA test had picked up.

This Sunday, Becker, now 45, met her donor, Patrick Davey, 25, for the first time, in Chicago. They laughed. They embraced. They told each other their life stories. Theirs is the first public case of a patient meeting their cord-blood donor. For nearly 30 years, donations from infant umbilical-cord blood have been strictly anonymous for ethical reasons, but mail-in DNA tests have now introduced a way to circumvent the policy.

Related article:  Fueling CRISPR: The nonprofit dedicated to sharing 'bits of useful DNA'

Sperm banks are currently dealing with a similar fallout, as donor-conceived people are finding their sometimes reluctant donors through DNA tests. Anonymity has allowed tissue banking to sidestep some of the messy questions about life and death. Anonymity will not do so any longer.

Read full, original post: A Woman’s AncestryDNA Test Revealed a Medical Secret

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