Using DNA Testing To Find Birth Parents

DNA technology has come a long way.

Tom Andriola April 27, 2017
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Many adoptees are curious about their roots, but often don’t have options in terms of receiving information that will help them to uncover them because of the arcane laws that are still in place in many states that prohibit access to that information. Fortunately, the advancement of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology is beginning to level the playing field for adoptees, providing a viable option for them to have a shot at finding their birth parents and other biological relatives.

Several companies now provide DNA testing services that match participants with others who share DNA strands, which can provide vital information about heritage and ethnicity, and may even result in connections to close relatives who could provide much sought after answers. The most popular organizations that provide the service are MyHeritage DNA, Living DNA, GPS Origins, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA.

Most DNA kits are relatively inexpensive, with more sophisticated matching costing more as an add-on. To get started, you will place your order and receive your kit in the mail. Usually, you’ll do a couple of cheek swabs and send it back, and then several weeks later you’ll obtain your results. You will be provided with some basic information about your heritage and ethnicity, but you’ll also receive names and contact information for your closest matches. Connecting with your matches could provide you with information you’ve always been searching for!

If your matches are not too close, don’t give up! Try plugging your information into an electronic family tree application like the one available at Ancestry.com. With persistence about the clues you have been given from your DNA results, coupled with any other ancillary information you might have about the circumstances surrounding your birth, you might be able to discover information that will lead to a breakthrough! Seemingly small clues could actually end up being the key to vital information.

Keep your options open with respect to choosing more than one DNA test as well, either by using multiple companies or doing deeper tests with the one you have already chosen. While it’s true that additional tests could end up getting expensive, it may be one of the only options available until states start removing the restrictions to your information that are currently on the books. Best of luck in your search!

Need some help with your adoption search? Adoption Detectives may be able to help! Learn more.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.


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