Life Advice



Ask Amy: DNA results might prove a relief for daughter

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: After 36 years, I found out via a DNA test that the father of my daughter was the product of a one-night stand, and that she is not the daughter of the man I married.

All those years ago, when I found out I was pregnant I married the man I was dating and in love with. I’ve had no contact with the one-night stand man since the morning after.

Do I tell my daughter?

I’m mostly concerned about this because she knows that the man I married (her non-DNA dad, who I later divorced) is an alcoholic. His mother and two aunts each died of genetic cancers.

If she learns about her DNA, my daughter will no longer believe she carries those potentially life-ending traits, but I still wonder if she should be told.

I certainly don’t want to tell my ex-husband – and won’t.


– Mama’s Baby, Daddy’s maybe

Dear Mama: Yes, you should tell your daughter.

If you can’t justify telling her the truth about her genetic history simply because it is the truth (and medically important to her), consider this: She’s going to find out, anyway.

The ubiquity of DNA testing is quickly blowing the lid off of family secrets, and the speed of this huge and sweeping change also gives you an out.


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