It’s Complicated

Virginia Hughes, one of the writers we always try to keep up with, has a thoughtful piece about some of the unintended consequences of uncovering family secrets using DNA testing.Virginia Hughes

As we’ve seen in many of the stories we’ve featured here about customers finding unknown family or uncovering family secrets using DNA testing, it can lead into unexpected territory. Even in the happiest of endings – siblings meeting each other for the first time, sons finding their mothers and daughters learning about their real fathers – it’s almost always complicated.

As Tolstoy so long ago said in the opening of his epic Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Virginia writes about Cheryl, a woman in her 60s whose family is equally unique in its sad history. But the story is more than just about Cheryl’s search – along with 23andMe, Cheryl used a number of resources from public records to DNA testing to even “search angels” to assist her– Virginia uses the story as a way to discuss such issues as privacy and even personal identity.

The story called “Uprooted” appears in Matter, an online long-form journalism publication specializing in stories about science, medicine and technology. (It’s 99 cents to see the whole piece.)