How I Went From One Sibling to 33 Siblings in One Day
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How I Went From One Sibling to 33 Siblings in One Day

DNA Testing is changing family dynamics.

How I Went From One Sibling to 33 Siblings in One Day

I grew up with one brother.

I was shopping in Windsor, a clothing store when I spontaneously checked my phone. I had a Facebook messenger notification from a woman I haven't heard of before.

A woman named Tracy claimed to have matched with me on AncestryDNA as half-siblings and asked if I was donor-conceived. My mind was blown.

A couple months ago, I snatched a half-off deal on AncestryDNA. I didn't know my ethnicities, nor did I know my paternal side since my family used an anonymous sperm donor. When people asked "what are you?" I always felt a little left out as I couldn't quite answer that question, so I decided to figure it out on my own and order a DNA kit. I knew I might find siblings, but I knew it was possible I also wouldn't. I was eagerly awaiting my DNA results, which take 6-8 weeks to come in. It would tell me my ethnicity, match me to relatives who have also tested through the database, and tell me the likely degree of relation to those relatives that I match with.

I couldn't believe it. I scrolled through Tracy's Facebook and couldn't stop thinking about how we have the same father as I studied her face. There was someone out there who was also donor-conceived, who understood what it was like to be asked about your family and the conversation ends with more questions than answers, who understood the emptiness of knowing nothing about half of your DNA, who shared half of my DNA. My hands shook as I responded that yes, I am donor-conceived. I rushed to the AncestryDNA app and opened up my DNA matches. My results were in and my list of "close family" DNA matches was extensive. These were not relatives from my mom's side.

Another notification, and Tracy had responded. My jaw dropped and I burst into tears. I slowly sat down on a bench in the middle of this clothing store, staring at my phone in disbelief. Suddenly, my semi-formal didn't matter. Suddenly, no obligation mattered. "There's about 32 of us. I can add you to our giant group chat." I had 32 people to meet, remember, and a huge life change I had to process. 32 people had the same biological father as me. I was very lucky, too. Not all donor-conceived people's newfound half-siblings are open to contact, yet I found 32 and almost all of them are open to talking to me. So, there I cried, in the middle of Windsor, accepting my new reality.

I was added to the group chat and my phone blew up. I finally saw the faces and heard the stories of all these siblings that I never knew existed, some resembling me. Brothers from another mother...babes from another egg...literally. They were beyond welcoming and almost all of them were involved in outdoor recreation and artistic in some way, something that must've come from our dad's side. They were from a variety of states and the age range was 11-25. Some had wild stories of how they found out they were donor-conceived: through fights, after years of questioning their biological parents, through DNA testing. Others had known about their biological origins since birth.

I was astonished to learn that two went to the same high school district as me. That left me to wonder...are there more siblings I don't know about that went to the same high school as me? Is anyone I grew up with unknowingly a half-sibling? Do any of them go to my university? I have no idea how many more half-siblings we have, as the sperm donation clinic is widely unregulated. My new answer to "hey, you look like so-and-so, are you related to them?" is "I don't know, maybe."

I have a wonderful group chat to chat in and awesome people to visit. I can say quite confidently that DNA testing was one of my best purchases ever.

Since I was found in February, four more siblings have been found through DNA testing to equal a total of 37 siblings so far, to this date. And I'm sure as DNA testing popularizes, we have yet to find more. I'm related to a hell of a lot of people. My kids will have too many cousins to even remember. But hey, we got some damn good genes.

My story is not unique. While we do not know how many donor-conceived people exist since the industry is highly unregulated, my story is quite common, and I am determined to help the voices of donor-conceived people be heard and spread awareness of this family dynamic.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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