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'WIBTA for doing '23 & Me' test that might reveal my secret existence to my bio-mom’s family?'

'WIBTA for doing '23 & Me' test that might reveal my secret existence to my bio-mom’s family?'


"WIBTA for doing a '23 & Me' test, knowing this might reveal my (secret) existence to my bio-mom’s side of the family?"


Sorry this title sounds so dramatic, in reality it’s more just complicated. So I (32/F) was adopted as a baby. It was supposed to be a closed adoption, but my biological parents’ names were visible on the paperwork that came from the hospital/adoption agency.

I was able to track down my bio-mom about 10 years ago. We exchanged a few emails and talked on the phone, and she sent me photos of my bio-siblings who were not placed for adoption.

I expressed interest in meeting my bio-siblings and my bio-mom said she was sure they’d like to meet me also, but she needed time to break the news of my existence to them because she felt some type of way about having kept it a secret for 20+ years.

As I said, that was 10 years ago. Bio-mom never reached out again to let me know she’d told the rest of the family about me, nor did I hear from any of them, so I assume my existence is still a secret.

And when I did try sending her an email (about something unrelated, it was actually a medical history question) at one point after that, I never got a response. So my read is that she’s not interested in further contact with me, which is understandable and more than fine.

But on the other side of the coin, I was never able to find my bio-dad although I did try for a while. I’ve recently been considering submitting my DNA to 23 & Me on the chance that maybe I can find him or family members on his side, and also I’d just like to know more about my ethnicity and heritage.

But I know that if I do so and anyone on my bio-mom’s side has submitted DNA or does in the future, they’ll see that I exist. I’ve respected my bio-mom’s wishes not to reach out directly to my bio-siblings even though I have their contact information, and I can’t shake the feeling that doing 23 & Me is just a sneaky way of circumventing that and acting all innocent.

It feels kind of crappy and like it would be a betrayal. I considered trying to send my bio-mom a heads up that I was planning to submit my DNA, but since our interaction ended with her ghosting me I worry that sounds like a threat or an ultimatum. So WIBTA if I submitted to 23 & me, and/or should I try to warn my bio-mom first?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


Donor conceived person, here. My take is a little different from other folks. I would proceed with extreme caution and understand that your bio dad might not want his entire family informed before he has a chance to decide what he wants. I know, because I did exactly that and blew my shot at ever getting to know him.

Practically, this means changing your privacy settings to “relative matches off” BEFORE you send the test. When the results come in, turn that setting to “on” and take screenshots of all your matches to 4th cousin.

Do that as fast as you can and then turn it off and log out; login with a newly opened browser to confirm the relative matches are truly off. Do all your research with the screenshots. Only turn it on for brief moments when 23&me emails once a month with new matches.

Do not message relatives with questions about bio dad or anything else without his consent. Once you find your dad, you can gain consent to turn it on from bio parents. IMHO, YWBTA if you leave don’t take precautions. But more importantly, you might miss out on knowing bio dad at all.

PS: I can help with family tree research and finding free DNA detectives. Reach out any time.


Agree with most of this. Though I don’t think YWBTA for uploading your own DNA, etc. I just think the subtle approach is better to foster a potential relationship.


Yep. I can't get behind OP would be TA. It might blow up a potential relationship, but the fact that the bio parents kept it a secret all this time is on them. OP has every right to use those type of services, and isn't the bad guy for doing so.


NTA. Everyone has the right to know who they are and where they come from. If the fall out is your Bio siblings finding out then so be it. You want to meet them and this may just force your Mum's hand a little. I wish you luck finding your Bio Dad, but be aware he may not want to know you.

The OP responded here:


Thanks. And yeah, I don't actually have any expectations from him and I won't be hurt if he's not interested in connecting with me. But I know that he was never aware that my bio-mom was pregnant, so on a certain level I feel like he should at least have the option.


YWNBTA. My (adoptive) mom did not know her dad, and I don't know my bio dad. We did Ancestry DNA and were linked to our bio dads family very easily. You have the option of hiding yourself, so no one else would be able to see the link, if you are worried about that. I would recommend AncestryDNA over 23&Me for this circumstance but that is purely my own bias.


Don't worry about her feelings, she's not worried about yours.

So, if you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

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