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DNA Tests Expose Mothers Who Used Donors
DNA tests will expose parents staying mum about donor babies: Doctors say rise in ‘relative finder’ kits will lift the lid on how children are conceived
- Parents who have babies using donor sperm or eggs will have to tell kids
- Currently, many parents ‘keep mum’ about their child’s true parentage
- But fertility doctors say the rising popularity of affordable DNA tests is threatening to blow the lid on their secrets
Parents who have babies using donor sperm or eggs will soon have no choice but to tell their children about how they were conceived because of the growing popularity of cheap DNA tests, say experts.
At the moment, many parents ‘keep mum’ about their son or daughter’s true parentage, never even telling the child the truth.
But fertility doctors say the rising popularity of affordable DNA tests is threatening to blow the lid on their secrets. Companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA offer ‘relative finder‘ tests for as little as £69 – and prices are falling.
Joyce Harper, professor of reproductive genetics at University College London, said: ‘If you are parents who have used donor eggs or sperm to conceive, what if you haven’t told your child, and they then go and do a 23andMe test?
‘More than likely, they will find out that they are not who they thought they were.’
There is no UK law requiring parents to tell their child they were conceived with donor sperm or eggs, although national guidance states fertility clinics should advise them to do so.
More and more people are using DNA test kits, curious about their ethnic make-up and family connections around the world. Some tests also reveal health information. At least three million people are on such genetic databases worldwide, and the numbers are growing fast.
Those conceived using donor sperm might find out they had half-brothers and half-sisters, Prof Harper said, which would cast doubt on their own paternity. Others might discover something was amiss if their DNA test results showed they had an unexpected relative, such as an uncle.
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