23andme_logoHave you heard about 23andMe? They’re a company that offers relatively inexpensive DNA testing to help people learn more about their ancestry and health risks.

At American Adoptions, we do our best to gather as much medical and social history information as we can from birth parents. But sometimes our information is incomplete or we may not be able to identify or speak with a birth father.

DNA testing can help to fill in some of those holes for adoptive families and their children. And in some cases, genetic testing might even lead a couple to decide to adopt if they learn they carry an unusual or at-risk gene.

23andMe says that their genetic testing can give you insight on your health and ancestry and help you:

  • Plan for the future by identifying if your children are at risk for any heritable conditions.
  • Stay one step ahead by helping you understand your genetic health risks, change what you can and manage what you can’t.
  • Talk to your doctor about how you might react to certain medications.
  • Keep receiving updates on medical research, so your knowledge of your own health grows.

Older adoptees who know very little about their birth family, or grew up in a closed adoption, might even be able to find relatives and build a family tree and record of health history. 23andMe’s blog has stories of adoptees and how their DNA testing affected their lives!

So how does it work? 23andMe will send you a kit by mail for $99. You’ll need to collect spit in a vial, so this might be an exercise that’s easiest to do with older children. Then you send the kit back and receive your results in about 6 weeks. The results will include 240+ health reports, and you’ll be able to connect with any potential relatives. They’ll even let you know if you’re distantly related to anyone famous.

Has anyone tried this yet? We’d love to hear about it!