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.

Barbara’s DNA Surprise

In this week’s episode, we delve into Barbara’s DNA surprise story.  Barbara grew up with a strong connection to her German heritage before discovering, in her fifties, that she was donor-conceived and of Jewish descent. She discusses the challenges she faced, the shock and sense of displacement she felt after the discovery, and the impact it had on her relationships with her parents–and her sense of self. She also shares the joy she experienced in connecting with some of her half-siblings. 

Thank you for sharing your story, Barbara.

Eric’s DNA Surprise

DNA tests. NPE. Donor conception. Politics. In this week’s episode of DNA Surprises, I’m joined by Eric, who learned that he was donor-conceived after taking a 23andMe test.

He shares why he decided to take the test, why he waited three years before doing anything with his surprising results, and how his discovery impacted his relationship with his parents. He also shares how he has connected with his newfound siblings and the larger DCP community.

Rikki, Jules, and Kendall’s DNA Surprise

Welcome to Season 6 of DNA Surprises. We’re kicking off this season with a quadruple DNA surprise story as told by triplets.

Rikki, Julianne, and Kendall are donor-conceived triplets who were separated at birth. Rikki was raised by her biological mother and who she believed was her biological father. Jules and Kendall were raised together by their adoptive parents.

Rikki knew about her sisters but didn’t know she was donor-conceived until after her dad died. Meanwhile, Juliann and Kendall knew they were donor-conceived, but didn’t know about Rikki until they were older.

Josie’s DNA Surprise

In this week’s episode, Josie shares a DNA surprise that doesn’t come as the result of a test she took, but of her own revelation well into her twenties. She always knew that she was donor conceived and raised by a single mother, but it wasn’t until she had her son that she wanted to find her sperm donor. Josie shares why she wanted to seek out her donor and what she hopes to gain from their future relationship. Her story ends on a cliffhanger – listen to the end of the episode for an update directly from her.

Laurie’s DNA Surprise

DNA surprises often shake the very core of what we believe our identities to be. In this week’s episode, Laurie shares how she went from believing she was the only child of two concentration camp survivors of the Holocaust to learning she is one of at least 6 siblings – half of whom were born as the result of assisted reproduction. Laurie always knew her parents went to a fertility doctor but she had no idea that she was donor conceived. She shares how she learned of her donor conception, who she has connected with, and how this has changed her perspective on her parents and identity – in primarily positive ways.

Kiara’s DNA Surprise

Welcome to the Season 3 finale of DNA surprises. In this week’s episode, Kiara Rae Schuh shares her journey as she connected with her fellow donor-conceived siblings and eventually, her donor. Kiara discusses the importance of her chosen family, which is also the name of her brand new book, and how her mother’s openness about using assisted reproduction informs her views of donor conception and family structures. She also reveals a DNA surprise that she didn’t see coming.

Hayley’s DNA Surprise

One of the most interesting things about the DNA surprise community is how much intersection there is between adoptees, donor-conceived people, and NPEs. In this week’s episode, Hayley, who was one of the first people conceived through IVF in the UK, shares her NPE story. While she knew from a young age that she was conceived through IVF, it wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she learned her raised father is not her genetic parent. As a DCP, Hayley has a unique perspective as she embarked on her own parenting journey with her wife. She shares how being donor-conceived affects how she discusses the topic with her twins and what regulations are and should be in place for DCPs worldwide.

Kara’s DNA Surprise

In this week’s episode, Kara shares her donor conceived journey. Kara’s parents told her and her twin sister that they were conceived with a donor egg when they were 10 years old. The family never really spoke about it again. Kara shares how she connected with her bio mom, how she feels about donor conception, and what steps would make donor conception more ethical today.