Monday, April 13, 2015


AncestryDNA is the newest of the DNA registries. It is available to users with accounts on It is a saliva test and takes eight weeks to return results.


  • Everyone on this website has an interest in genealogy and may be able to offer insight as to where you fit in the family tree
  • Offers insight to ancestral origins
  • Tests entire genome so more relative matches can be made
  • Cost: $99 plus an membership
  • Must be an member to purchase this test and access results
My Story: I recently purchased this test and I am currently waiting on my results. I will be sure to keep you all posted on what I find! 


23andme is a genetic website that matches biological family based on their genes. In addition, it provides a breakdown of ancestral information, health reports, chromosomal/genomic comparisons of members with consent, and interactive features such as message boards and surveys. (As of 2013 it no longer provides health reports, but data from this website can be imported and interpreted for $5 at Promethease). This test requires a saliva sample. It takes six weeks for initial processing and ethnic origins and takes a total of eight weeks for biological family members to appear.


  • Tons of people who can offer more insight once a genetic match is made are on this website
  • A majority of the people on this website are searching for unknown biological family, even if they are not a direct match to you, you may share similar situations and connect over similar circumstances. 
  • The test gives a breakdown of ancestral origins
  • If purchasing many tests, each additional test is 10% off
  • Cost: $99, the cheapest on the market


  • Currently does not offer health reports
  • Not all users may be willing to share information with you
  • You will need to purchase an additional test for the non-donor parent in order to be able to separate which side of your family each match comes from
  • No helpline was available at my time of use
My Story: This website matched my biological half-sister. It was also the first website to offer health reports. It is cheap, accessible, and user-friendly in ways that the other websites were not. I have used it to establish mutually-desired contact with my paternal cousins. I have also made contact with adoptees on my paternal and maternal side and I have been able to be a comfort to them. I was also able to participate in health-related surveys and help 23andme gather data for research! It is my favorite genetic website by far!


FamilyTreeDNA is a genealogy-based website that matches biological family members based on their genes. It offers a variety of tests based on your gender and circumstances. It's fantastic for use by anyone, not just donor-conceived people. It is also used by anyone and is not exclusive to the donor-conceived community. It takes about eight weeks to get results and is a cheek-swab test.

  • Most of the people on this website enjoy genealogy and can offer personal insight once a genetic match is made
  • This website provides insight to ancestral origins
  • Prices have gone down a lot since the website began
  • Raw genetic data can be processed using Promethease to gain health information
  • This website uses autosomal DNA (the entire genome is analyzed so more relative matches can be made)
  • Has a helpline
My Story: This was the second genetic registry that I used. The people on the helpline were extremely helpful and when I asked what other registries existed they told me freely about their competition. I was very impressed by my results and it was a comfort to get the information about my ancestral origins. 

CaBRI-Med Donor-Conceived Services

The Cayman Biomedical Research Institute, or CaBRI offers testing services specifically for donor-conceived offspring and donors seeking their biological family. The cheek-swab test is ideal when there is a suspected donor-offspring or half-sibling relationship. It takes roughly eight weeks after ordering the test to get the results.


  • Specific for donor-conceived people and donors
  • The help I received from this service was outstanding, the receptionist kept me up-to-date on the processing of my sample through e-mails and Dr. Kirk Michael Maxey, head of the clinic there, helped me to understand my results and was very helpful and kind
  • Part of my results included a "Deduced Donor Result," which listed the STRs my donor would need to have on his X chromosome to be my biological father. It has not been helpful in finding him but was a comfort to have.
  • Cost, see this page for fees, the cheapest service is $150
  • The non-donor parent must register DNA for female participants (I had to have my mom register her DNA so the X-chromosome that came from my sperm donor) 
  • The test only tests the sex chromosomes, not autosomal (two chromosomes are tested and compared rather than all 46 chromosomes)
  • This service can only match offspring of the same sex unless the donor is also on the site
  • Cannot match distant relatives, only direct lineages. 
My Story: This was the first genetic test I took. It was very helpful because Dr. Maxey took the time to explain my results to me and what they mean. He was a sperm donor and could empathize with my situation. He is an advocate for change and greater regulation of the donor industry. You can read more about him here

Donor Sibling Registry

The Donor Sibling Registry was originally created by Wendy Kramer in 2000 to be the go-to resources for donor offspring to establish mutually-desired contact with their biological half-siblings and/or donors. The premise of the website is that clinics will release non-identifying information (such as donor numbers) to offspring which would be shared with other donor offspring and those who matched are related (e.g. both offspring were conceived using egg donor 1628 share a biological mother and are biological siblings). Ideally, the clinics would be responsible enough to confidently release donor numbers to offspring.

As it stands, many clinics in the fertility industry are sloppy with donations (they may inseminate using donations from different donors on consecutive days, creating a situation in which it is impossible to determine from notes which donation resulted in a viable pregnancy), or refuse to release the numbers to offspring entirely. The clinic my parents used to conceive me used to release donor numbers, but have since sealed all information and no longer release numbers to offspring.


  • Can purchase yearly or lifetime membership (I purchased yearly first and when it expired, I purchased a lifetime membership)
  • Users may be able to determine matches without paying for a DNA test
  • Users can contact Wendy Kramer directly for help
  • Website administrators respond quickly to questions
  • Pictures and full profiles are private
  • Cost, $75 yearly or $175 for a lifetime membership (I recommend the lifetime membership)
  • If donors donated at more than one clinic and had different numbers, the offspring from the second clinic cannot determine who came from the first
  • Anyone can pose as a donor or donor offspring, use discretion
  • Some parts of the website are public
  • If the clinics do not release donor numbers, it is impossible to use

My story: I used the Donor Sibling Registry last. After joining all of the genetic registries and databases I could find, I posted here as a last-ditch effort explaining my situation and that the clinic was not releasing any information about my donor to me. My biological half-sister had only used the Donor Sibling Registry and was not yet on any genetic registries. She saw my post and joined one of the genetic registries I had listed and that was when we made a match. It would be worth it if the clinic is not releasing information to you to post here once you have joined a genetic registry, it certainly was worth it to me!

Free Donor Registry - AMFOR.NET

The Donor Offspring/Parent Registry and Free Search Page boasts that it is the "only free worldwide registry and search website for donor offspring and donor parents." As with all things free, you get what you pay for.


  • Free
  • Anyone can see what you post or pose as a donor or offspring, use discretion
  • Consider using an email specifically for the website so users cannot find your personal information or other accounts without your consent (do not use the same email for this that you have linked to your Facebook account, for example)
  • If you do not have a donor number or information about your donor is not released to you, it is impossible to use this website
My Story: I have not signed up for this website yet because I feel it does not have enough safety features.

First Post - My Story and a few notes about Internet Safety

Hi, everyone! My name is Kelly. Three years ago, I learned that although I was raised by an amazing man who I will always consider my father, I was conceived using an anonymous sperm donor. The clinic my parents used has sealed all information about its donors, even non-identifying information, so half of me was a complete genetic mystery. Since then, I have worked to discover as much as I can about the paternal side of my family

This blog will focus primarily on highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of methods anyone, but specifically donor-conceived people, can use to find their biological family, including parts of my own story.

What I've Learned:

  • I have at least one biological half-sister through my sperm donor!
    • I have met her in-person and we have physical features and a lot of other unexpected things in common, such as taste in music (That's her on the left, and that's me on the right. I'm showing my teeth and she isn't).
  • I am of 1/8th unspecified Middle Eastern descent (this is not through my donor because I do not share it with my sister). Surprisingly, it comes through my mother. I discovered this through
  • I was able to get health information from before the FDA had the feature removed.
  • Through a combination of and, I was able to determine the hometown of my donor's ancestors and have established mutually-desired contact with paternal family members from both websites
A few notes on Internet safety:
  • DO NOT meet anyone you do not know alone. 
  • DO NOT give out personal or identifying information.
  • DO NOT use pictures on any website that can be tracked to personal websites, such as pictures from your Facebook page. They can be used to track you using a reverse Google image search.
  • DO NOT use the same email address that you use for your personal accounts. I made an email address specifically for genetic websites and registries and I use this email only for this blog. 
  • USE DISCRETION AT ALL TIMES. You are vulnerable and searching. Due to the highly unregulated fertility industry, anyone can pose as donors or donor offspring, even predators. Keep this in mind when talking to strangers. Do as much as you can to verify that a person is who they say they are and that they are safe before you initiate communication with them. 
  • BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR MONEY. If you are worried about hacking or internet scams, you may purchase a temporary credit gift card from any store or your bank that you can buy once and have separate from your bank accounts. I always used this method so no one would have access to my real accounts. 
  • This blog is intended for use to help people establish MUTUALLY-DESIRED CONTACT ONLY.