The ubiquity of at-home DNA testing kits has resulted in scores of Americans revealing horrific family secrets — including a man who discovered he had 30 siblings, and another who discovered her husband was actually related.
According to data from the survey website, about two in 10 Americans have taken the mail-order test YouGov, While the global genetic testing market is now worth about $14 billion.
Experts say the trend is being driven by the availability of cheap and accurate tests, with the two major providers — 23andMe and AncestryDNA — offering them for just $99.
But there may be a darker reason for this growing interest: A shocking documentary recently revealed the devastating health consequences of incest families through the eyes of the inbred, disfigured Whitaker family in West Virginia.
From the wife who finds out she married her cousin to the daughter who realizes her late father was swapped at birth, here WhatsNew2Day.com rounds up the most surprising family surprises that come from tracing your roots.
Andy Torrey believed he was an only child until an AncestryDNA test revealed he had at least 30 siblings due to a sperm donor father.
I found out I have 30 siblings
Andy Torre always thought he was an only child before he ordered an AncestryDNA test for Christmas.
But the results began to sound alarm bells when 14 percent of French and 11 percent of English returned. He thought his father was “mostly” English and French so he expected his DNA count to be higher.
That’s when Tori—from Atlanta, Georgia—discovered that his mom actually used a sperm donor—whose donations have been used to create at least 30 more children.
Torrey would find and meet his brothers all over the United States. He has been documenting the experience on TikTok.
“I woke up two days ago thinking I’m an only child, and now I find out I’m the second oldest out of 31,” he wrote on the video-sharing platform.
He added, “The crazy thing is that I bought these sets for me and my parents for Christmas and it didn’t occur to me.”
My father was switched at birth.
Alice Blebusch made headlines in 2017 after discovering her father had lived his entire life in the wrong family.
Blebush’s father was fiercely proud of his Irish heritage — so much so that he would play the Irish song “Danny Boy” on his heels.
So she was expecting her test to show a 100% Irish family tree. Instead, she discovered that she was half Jewish.
Upon further research, she realizes that her father and his sister—her alleged aunt—are not related at all.
After examining hospital records, she realizes that her Jewish father was taken home by mistake by an Irish family.
Plebuch managed to communicate with the family of the man with whom he was exchanged at birth.
I really lost all my identity. “I felt so lost,” she said Washington Post on time.
Alice Blebusch discovered her father was changed at birth – years after his death
A rare condition means I wasn’t related for the children I have given birth to
Single mother Lydia Fairchild, 26, was unemployed and looking for government support in 2002 when she was asked to take a DNA test to prove her family was all related.
But the findings suggest that Fairchild has no genetic link to the two children he fathered – alarming social services.
I knew I carried them, and I knew I delivered them. ‘There was no doubt in my mind,’ Fairchild, of Washington, said at the time.
She gave birth for a third time, and once again, DNA tests reported that she was not related to the newborn – despite being nine months pregnant.
Portrayed by Lydia Fairchild in the 2005 documentary The Twin in Me
It was later revealed that the mismatch was due to a very rare condition called “chimerism”.
This meant she was technically a twin in the womb but the other fetus died early meaning she ‘absorbed’ her sibling’s cells.
The status meant she had two cell lines – with only one matching her children’s line.
Her case was relayed in the 2006 documentary The Twin in Me.
I married my cousin
The DNA test results can be so surprising that it has spawned its own hashtag on TikTok ‘#ancestrysecrets’.
Influencer Selena Quinones had been married to her husband Joseph for ten years and had three of his children when she found out they were already related.
Selena, from Denver, Colorado, decided to take a DNA test in 2016 from Myheritage.com.
Selena Quinones was married to her husband Joseph for ten years and shared three children with him before realizing they were related. She now jokingly calls him a “cousband”.
She noted that they have a genetic match of 62 centimorgan—a unit of genetic relatedness—meaning they share eight generations of ancestors.
But the couple is now shedding light on the news, with Selena jokingly referring to Joseph as a “tie.”
“I wouldn’t change him for the world… Cosband and wife for life!” I explained on TikTok.
There’s a reason good couples look alike. I’m just here to raise awareness.
The couple, from Denver, Colorado, share ancestors going back eight generations
Anita Foman, a DNA expert at West Chester University, told Dailymaill.com that Hale’s story is common.
“Research shows that we are drawn to people who share similarities with us,” she said.
This is what worries a lot of people when they find out they have all those relatives they didn’t know about. What if you met that person at the bar?
Foman adds that she anticipates that DNA testing will be mandatory soon after birth and will simply become a standard part of their medical records.