Last month, I received a 23andMe DNA Health and Ancestry test as a gift for my birthday. Now that might seem like an unusual gift; but, it was something I've wanted to do for years. I've always been fascinated by my genealogy and I wanted to be able to learn more. I know many others, like myself, are very curious about their genealogy but are hesitant to take the test. That's why today I wanted to share my experience with taking the test and my results.
Overall, the DNA test is relatively simple to take; however, it is going to require a lot of patience. After I received my kit, I took the time to make my account before taking the test. You are required to make your account prior to sending off your test so that they can link the test with your profile. I actually took my DNA test on October 15 which was a really simple process. You just have to follow the instructions provided with your kit. Now this is where your patience comes in. Once your DNA test arrives at their lab it takes a few weeks to analyze the data. This can vary depending on how busy they are at that time. Based on my experience, I had a shorter waiting time than anticipated and I received my results on October 31. I understand how the waiting can be hard; but, I will say 23andMe does a fantastic job of keeping you informed on where they are in the process.
Once all of that is done, it is time for the fun part which is actually getting the results.Honestly, when I got my results back I was surprised. When I took the test I anticipated to get back British, Italian and potentially French. When I got back my results that was not the case. I learned that I was German, British, Irish and Croatian. Of course, there is more; but this is where a majority of my DNA came from. 23andMe does a fantastic job of breaking down all the information they gathered and simplifying it for you. When you receive your results back you will see it is broken down into different regions. At the top of the list, you'll see where you have your biggest matches and it'll get smaller as you scroll down. It'll even show you the regions where you don't have any DNA matches from. Honestly, there is a lot of information to find there. They even give you information on the region when you click on it so you can learn more about the culture.
Another aspect of the ancestry test, is being able to contact distant relatives. I think it is important to know that whether you participate in this portion is your choice. You are not required to in order to receive your results and you can opt out of it at anytime if you choose. At first I was hesitant about this feature, but after learning more I felt like it was managed well. It really is up to you how you use it which I think is great.
Now the test I took also included the health screening so if you are interested in that just make sure you buy the right test.When you participate in the health screening, it does require more work in the sense of paperwork. They want to make sure you understand what you are doing and what your results potentially mean. The health screening scans your DNA for DNA markers for certain diseases. 23andMe makes this very clear but I want to express this as well. If your test says you have a marker, it doesn't mean you will develop it. Outside of that, the health screening also tells you certain traits or preferences that your DNA makes you predisposed to. For example, it said I was likely to have freckles and to prefer sweet snacks to salty ones. In no way, is it required to do the health screening but it can be fun and educational.
Overall, I was really glad I decided to take the DNA test. I was able to learn so much more about my genetics and my family's background. So I think it is definitely something worth considering whether you have thought about it or not. I know my mom never expressed interest in one of these tests; however, she took one after receiving my results.