Episodes

Steve’s DNA Surprise

If there is one thing I hope we can all agree on, it’s that families come in all shapes and sizes. Many people with DNA surprises end up with two, three, or more fathers and just as many mothers, too.

When Steve experienced his DNA surprise, he already had two men in his life that he called “Dad.” After he learned the truth about who his biological father is, he added a third to his list. In this week’s episode, Steve shares how he uncovered the truth. Trust me when I say, it’s an extremely unique story, and not much surprises me these days.

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Julie’s DNA Surprise

Most of the time, when I speak to people on the podcast, we learn that the reason they took the test was out of curiosity or for fun. Maybe they were given the DNA test as a gift from a friend or significant other. So imagine my surprise when I learned that this week’s guest was given her Ancestry DNA kit by her mother.

Welcome to Season 8 of DNA Surprises. In this week’s episode, Julie shares how she uncovered the truth about her paternity after her mom gifted her a DNA test. She recalls her “party people” parents and a childhood spent around the world after they divorced and her mother remarried. As we often say on this podcast, DNA surprises can happen to anyone, of any background. From conservative upbringings to more unconventional lifestyles, there are no rules about who can be rocked by the shocking results of a DNA test.

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Dana Schmalenberg’s DNA Surprise

There is never a good time to discover that the man you’ve called “Dad” for your entire life isn’t biologically related to you, but I imagine that having this realization as he lays in a hospital bed, dying, must be among the worst.

In the season 7 finale of DNA Surprises, Dana Schmalenberg shares how she uncovered the truth that both of her parents held tightly until the day her father passed. She reveals the shocking truth about her biological father, a man who fathered 9 other children, many of whom share strange similarities.

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Angela, Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cody’s DNA Surprise

How do you define family? For so many of us, DNA surprises have made us reflect deeply on this question. For Wyatt, Cassidy, Cody, and Angela, the answer is different depending on who you ask.

Twenty-plus years ago when Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cody were born, fertility clinics didn’t advocate for disclosure. So when their mother and father asked Angela, a clinic employee who’d befriended their mom, to donate her eggs for their subsequent pregnancies, they opted to position Angela as more of a family friend.

Their families kept in touch over the years, until contact suddenly stopped. After many twists and turns, today, their family looks different to each of them. Wyatt lives with Angela, her husband, and their biological and adopted children. Cassidy views Angela more like a fun aunt. Meanwhile, Cody’s relationship is a little more distant.

In this week’s episode, the four of them discuss their journeys from the beginning to where things are now. They also share what changes they’d like to see in the fertility industry.

You’ll hear throughout the episode that each of the siblings has a different perspective on their stories, from when they found out to how they found out. I won’t get on my soapbox again, but I believe this highlights the importance for each of us to be entitled to our own feelings about our own stories.

Thank you to Angela, Wyatt, Cody, and Cassidy for sharing your stories.

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Lisa S’ DNA Surprise

Many of us who have had DNA surprises spend some time wondering “What if?” What if we’d been raised in a different house, with our newly discovered biological parent? What if we’d known the truth from the beginning? What would our lives look like now? Would they be better? Or…would they be worse?

In this week’s episode, Lisa shares how she uncovered her shocking DNA surprise, learning that her biological father is her dad’s best friend. She shares how she’s built beautiful relationships with her newfound family, which has led to her wonder what life would have been like if she’d known them earlier. Ultimately, she reveals why she believes everything it happened as it should.

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Pat’s DNA Surprise

Picture this: you grow up with a sibling who is convinced they are not your dad’s biological child. No one knows about DNA surprises or NPEs or anything like that, but they just know their dad isn’t THEIR dad. Years later, after commercial DNA testing becomes commonplace, you offer them some peace of mind. All of your siblings take a test to prove, once and for all, that your parents are the biological parents of all of your siblings.

Except…they aren’t. Only it’s not your sibling who is the NPE. It’s you. In this week’s episode, Pat shares how she learned in her sixties that she doesn’t share a biological father with her siblings. She discusses how she was able to piece together a story long after the main players have passed, and how she’s forged new relationships with found family.

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