Life Advice


Health & Spirit

DNA disclosure might unlock family secret

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My mother conceived both my brother and me using a sperm donor. This information was never kept from us, and my mother has spoken openly about it throughout our lives.

My stepdad adopted us, making us his legal children.

Recently, I was discussing taking an ancestry test and my mother revealed to me that her sister, my aunt "Grace" (and uncle) had trouble conceiving and that my older cousin, "Allie," is also a sperm donor child.

My aunt and uncle, however, have not disclosed this information to Allie.

My uncle was the source of infertility, and did not want her to know (he has some ego issues).

This is apparently a big secret that nobody knows about (outside of my mom, aunt and uncle).


My mom asked me not to publicly post about my ancestry test, lest my cousin get curious and also want to take one, outing her parents.

I am deeply uncomfortable with this; as a fellow sperm donor child I feel an obligation to tell her, but I also am concerned about destroying my relationship with my aunt and uncle. What to do?

-- Concerned Cousin

Dear Concerned: If your mother had truly wanted to keep this sperm-donor information secret, she wouldn't have told you. But she did tell you, and now she is (basically) setting this family secret at your feet, and making you responsible for keeping it.


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