AncestryDNA, 23andME, Donor Sibling Registry, and Facebook.

When I ordered my AncestryDNA test I originally just had one query: what part of the world am I from? I knew my mom’s side was British AF. But since I was the product of a sperm donor, my paternal side was still an unknown. I figured it was from some European country or something like that but I wanted to know more. After I ordered the test I called my older sister and let her know what I had done and why because I thought she’s like to know. Coincidentally, she had the same idea and ordered the same test through AncestryDNA two days prior without telling me. My first reaction was “what the fuck, when were you gonna tell me?” and “don’t you think I would like to know stuff like that since we share the same DNA?”. Her response was simply “oh, sorry”. Jackass.  

When my sisters results got back she discovered she was only 61% Great Britain, 16% Scandinavia, 11% Europe West, 8% Ireland and 3% other. I was naturally excited to see how diverse as caucasian people we could be and wondered if my results would be any different. Once I downloaded the AncestryDNA app and the results showed up I was excited and curious as I’ve ever been. The first thing to show up was my Genetic Ancestry and major ethnicity regions I come from. Of course Great Britain showed up as 70%, but I was surprised to see Europe West at 15% and even Ireland at 7%. Dude, I am super white. Scandinavia only showed up at 2% whereas hers came in at 16%. What the hell? Than it clicked in me. We might have different sperm donors when all this time I thought we had the same. That was the first shock.

Then I saw Matches.  I touched it and it displayed all the people who have taken this test who I might share the same genetic information with. The first person in Close Family –  1st cousins was obviously my older sister; but then I scrolled down and saw three more people in the same range as my sister and the only thing I could think of was “what the fuck? How?”. Ohhhhhhhh. Sperm donor was busy. Right under my sister was a mans name but no picture that we’ll call Ethan, a girl’s name and her picture who I’ll call Denise and some weird email-looking username that also happened to be a girl. Do I have half-brothers and sisters out there? I scrolled even further down to 2nd cousins and saw two of my moms first cousins on there. That makes sense. But who are these three people who could be my siblings? Since Denise was the only one who had a picture and a full name I decided to search her out first. Where else but Facebook. After a few days of searching for her name and variations of it I finally came across her profile with the same picture she used on the App. It was her. Excited, I showed my wife and we went over her pictures and everything about her. My wife thought we definitely shared some resemblances in our face and hair. I read a little of what she does and was directed to another website. It seems that she is some kind of super fit, life coach, guru that’s always happy. At least that was my first impression. I was actually impressed. I think everyone could use of those at some point in their lives. So I wrote to her on both the App and on Facebook basically saying “Hi, I think we are somehow related. You came up as a close relative with extremely high confidence. would you like to discuss?”

About nineteen days later she finally responded simply with “Yes!” I immediately wrote back telling her my back story of my parents going to a fertility clinic in the Bay Area in the late 70’s and wondered if her father or uncles donated sperm. She said yes, her “father” was a sperm donor too who also donated in the Bay Area and she just found him a few months ago. Holy shit. She found him? She told me his name, how long he had donated for (15 fucking years he donated), from 1975-1990 and from two clinics. My mind was slowly blowing up like a balloon with all this new info. She also said she found two other half-sister on 23andme and so did he to confirm he’s our “sperm dad”. I was blown away at how nice and cool she was and willing to share all this personal information with me. She recommended I do 23andme as well and that we should have a reunion. I laughed to myself and thought “she must be from California”. Then she told me she spoke to him and he’s super cool. She messaged me his Facebook profile on FB messenger and said that he’s excited to meet his “progeny”. I came to the realization that I was part of something much bigger than my little family and that there could be hundreds of us out there. I clicked on his profile and there he was. I grabbed my wife to tell me what she sees and her only response was “Holy fuck you two look-alike. He’s an older, grayer version of you”. Mind. Blown.

At this point, there was myself, Denise, and my potential brother, Ethan whom I hadn’t written to yet, weird email user-name girl, her two half sisters on 23andme, and our donor’s two grown sons from his first marriage. My mind was reeling. I have a whole other half family out there with so many answers. I told her a little more about myself and where I am currently living (at a naval base in southern Maryland). She responded with “OMGGGG, he lives in northern Maryland, just north of D.C. I mapped out his city and it was only an hour and a half away. All those question marks that once filled my very being and my conscience were quickly being deleted and filled with answers.

She told me a little more about him. Where he was from, what he did, how he came about being a sperm donor, how much he was paid for each sample, and a lot of other personal particulars about his health, family, and hobbies. One thing that stood out to me was his desire for travel. He had travelled all over Europe and across the U.S. before settling down north of D.C. My mother knew at an early age that I had this explorer-traveler-discoverer side to me that my sister did not and it was she who encourage me to join the Navy. I finally got up the courage to write to him on FB; giving him all my details, including my phone number. You can tell I was eager for this. No more wondering who I was, where all the parts of me came from, or how to fill out those family health questions at the doctor’s office. Barely a day later he called me.



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