Starting or adding to a family can happend without a "natural birth", but no matter how it comes about it is still a family.
The majority of adoption agencies require both parents agree before a child is released for adoption. When questions arise about the biological father of a child, a DNA paternity test may clear up any doubts.
This practice protects the rights of biological parents: if one parent does not consent, the adoption cannot go forward. This process also protects adoptive parents.
Adoptive parents are freed of worry about biological parents coming back later to claim the child.
Paternity testing is also helpful for adopted children. Sometimes adopted children wish to locate their biological parents. Once they have located someone they believe is their
biological father, results will confirm or refute their suspicions. Insurance and Inheritance Cases.
Some insurance companies insist that a DNA paternity test be performed before they add a child to the father's insurance policy. This is done most often when the alleged father is not shown on the birth certificate.
Paternity testing is often performed to determine how to divide an estate when there is not a Will available. It may also be completed if the Will is murky on the division of the estate between family and non-family.
From time to time, The DNA Lady's office will get notices from other organizations who may have use for private DNA Testing. We are happy to post notices, when the subject matter concerns our work and our potential clients. Many families have been reuinited with the use of non-invasive DNA Testing. Many families rumors have been put to rest also using our DNA Tests. Below is a request for adoptees to participate in a Thesis project. If you are interested, please contact Eileen at her yahoo address below.
REQUEST FOR ADOPTEES TO PARTICIPATE IN A STUDY
As part of a Master Thesis in Sociology, the principal researcher is looking for adoptees who have been in reunion for longer than four years. The researcher would like to obtain participants who are currently in an adoption support group, and participants who currently are not. The research is qualitative in design and would require participation in open ended interviews roughly 30-90 minutes in length. The research focus relates to the participants' experiences/relationships with their natural siblings and other extended family members, rather than their experiences with their natural parents. This study is IRB (Institutional Review Board) approved requiring a signed consent form. All participants will be guaranteed anonymity. If you are willing to participate, please contact Eileen Skahill at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-510-5109.
Often it feels like we are only now opening our eyes to ignorance of just a generation or two ago. What will our children be undoing? If there are families still struggling with questionable biological relationships - paternity, maternity, siblingship and grand paternity - there is a DNA Test available to confirm/deny a biological relationship so that all parties can move on to the next step in the lives.
Adoption and DNA Testing
When adoptees (for lack of a kinder word) go in search of their biological parents, a DNA test may be a useful tool depending on what you're trying to accomplish.
If you have been lucky enough to find someone who you believe to be a biological relative, we have DNA tests and probability calculators to give you an idea of the value of evidence DNA testing can provide. For example, if you are a female and find someone who is supposed to be your half sister (you shared one biological parent) and we can collect DNA from just you and the alleged half sibling, a DNA test could return limited support of about 90% probability of relatedness. Although the 90% number is not enough evidence to be used in a legal process, if there were no "relatedness" the number would return at 0% - so at least you will have an idea of whether there is some biological matter shared between you and this "alleged half sibling" and you can move onto to other relatives in that siblings family line.
Just to continue to give an adoptee more statistics on this subject, suppose you are female and you find a man who is the brother of your alleged father. An avuncular test could return evidence with moderate support of 92% probability of relatedness. And as has happened a number of times, I get phone calls from a woman who says that the father of her child is deceased but she wants to prove paternity. We can collect the deceased alleged father's mother, father, sister or brother and provide evidence is support of the relationship. It is a matter of testing as many of the available relatives as possible.
The idea being, that whoever you find in your search for a biological relative, your local DNA collector probably has a test that can determine if there is a biological relationship between you. Some DNA collectors offer biological reconstruction where up to 5 people are tested at one time and a biological family tree is created - if there is matching DNA among the 5 people. You may find a loosely knit family with knowledge of family history but have never decided to confirm or research the stories. DNA testing allows you to rule out rumors and confirm relatedness.
On the other hand, if you have not been able to find biological family members and you just want to know what your ancestral map contains, Genealogy and Ancestral DNA tests are also offered by your local DNA collector. Look for my blog entry that explains all 18 haplogroups of the world - do you know which one you may belong to? Perhaps that's your starting point and from there you can seek out possible family members based on the haplogroup information. An example would be if you are a man and your haplogroup returns as part of the Haplogroup B and Haplogroup I - then iit would make no sense to go testing people who are obviously from Haplogroup O. An additional feature of the ancestry testing, is the ability to connect via email with possible genetic cousins/relatives. People who are already in the database and those who may enter the database in the future. You and the "biological relatives" have to authorize the connection, but as the database of ancestral researchers grow you are bound at some point to find a biological relative; however distant.
Some setbacks, if you are female - you can really only test your maternal ancestral heritage because you do not carry the Y-Chromosome of your paternal heritage - it is actually destroyed at conception. However, a male can test for both his maternal and paternal lineage via Y-Chromosome and mtDNA testing because the male carries by Y and X chromosomes. Keep in mind, ancestral DNA tests are not considered legally admissible in court for matters of Estates and Wills.
Adult Adoptees Searching Ancestral Information
Many individuals who were adopted are searching for information about their biological parents or general information about their family origins.
Males can test their Y-DNA to
- trace the paternal line
- determine possible original surnames
- connect with genetic cousins
- learn about your suggested geographic origins
- find your deep ancestral ethnic origins
Both males and females can test their mtDNA to:
- trace the maternal line
- connect with genetic cousins
- learn about your suggested geographic origins
- find your deep ancestral ethnic origins
There are at least 17 different types of DNA testing options available for adoptees to begin their ancestry heritage search. As this subject can be very confusing with all its terminology, biology, pricing, best test case scenario - it is best to call your local DNA expert to determine which test or combination of tests is best suited for your circumstances.
Test Example mtDNA Plus
Both men and women may take this test. It traces the direct maternal line without influence from other lines (excludes all paternal lineage). If you are interesting in determining your mother's line, this may be a good test for you. A panel of twenty-two SNPs is included for backbone haplogroup placement see DNALady's dictionary for definition of Haplogroups and SNPs). Results identify the ethnic and geographic origin of the maternal line.You will receive a certificate and report describing the testing process and the meaning of the matches. Results are placed in our database. When another person shows identical results, if both parties have signed a Release Form then we will inform you of the match.
Only available to males, these tests are a combination of a male specific Y-chromosome test and a maternal lineage mitochondrial test. THe number of markers you request (37 or 67) will determine cost of the test. A Y-haplogroup is determined and backed by our SNP Assurance Program. For the mtDNA test, a panel of twenty-two SNPs is included for backbone haplogroup placement. When another person shows identical results within our database, if both parties have signed a Release Form, then we will inform you of the match. The customer will also receive a certificate and report describing the testing process and the meaning of thirty-seven marker and mtDNA matches.
Irrespective of the test you chose, be sure to use a laboratory that is accredited by the AABB, CAP, CLIA, NYSDOH and other national DNA collection institutions to insure accuracy and reliability of tests. Having a local DNA collection expert to meet with in person (rather than ordering tests over the internet or through 800 #), allows you to ask follow up questions in person once you receive your results. The local DNA collection expert may have experience with other DNA tests that she/he can apply to your situation as well.
Rent a Womb Science
If you have exhausted all other methods of having children, there are options to creating a family today that could not ever be imagined in our parents time.
"Rent a womb", I don't mean any disrespect to either side. Those in the position of offering their womb for money are bringing happiness to so many couples and those in the position of paying to "rent a womb" provide a financial incentive to women who otherwise may not find the means to support their current children. Provided the new parents are not just trying to preserve their "girlish figures" or "don't have time to take off from their busy careers" and the surrogate moms are not jeopardizing their own health and are able to carry a baby to full term, then the reasons are pure and noble to go through surrogacy and by all means this is just a god given advancement in science that we all should enjoy.
The first step is to decide on the best kind of surrogacy. There are two types of surrogacy -
- Genetic. The surrogate is the genetic mother of the resulting child. In this the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the father(or a male sperm donor). Genetic surrogacy is simpler compared to gestational surrogacy. A DNA test at birth can determine for sure whether the child was produced as a results of the artificial insemination. If a family has any doubt about the artificial insemination's success, a PreNatal Paternity Test can also be performed but everyone should understand the risks involved to both fetus and mother.
- Gestational. In this the surrogate is not the genetic mother of the resulting child. The eggs(oocytes) are extracted from the mother(or egg donor) and mixed with the sperm from the father(sperm donor) in-vitro(in a test-tube, culture plate or similar vessel) that has an environment that will simulate that of the fallopian tubes. A short biology lesson - a woman's eggs mature and move out of the ovaries into the woman's fallopian tubes where they are fertilized by sperm and move down the fallopian tube to the uterus in a normal pregnancy. In in-vitro fertilization, the embryo is transferred into the surrogate's uterus.
In detail, in case of gestational surrogacy, the egg-donor is prepared by administering follicle stimulating (hormonal) medications to stimulate the production of multiple eggs. This procedure takes about 4-6 weeks. These medications cause more than one egg to mature and the eggs will be retrieved before they are released from the ovaries. These retrieved eggs are then fertilized by the sperm in a Petri dish in an incubator.
When the fertilized eggs reach the four to ten cell stage of development; they are called embryos and are ready to be placed in the womb of the surrogate, which is simultaneously prepared to receive the embryo so that it could be carried to term.
Again, DNA testing is recommended to assure the new parents are actually the biological parents of the embryo.Paternity and Maternity Tests can be performed either at birth or prenatally via amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling, in order to confirm that the donor egg and sperm did indeed produce a child. Since there risk involved with PreNatal Paternity Testing, a doctor should explain to both sides any circumstantial risks.
Not all eggs which are retrieved get fertilized and not all of the fertilized eggs are used in the current IVF cycle. Some of the embryos are cryopreserved for future IVF procedures. Deciding on the fate of the cryopreserved embryos early on in the procedure and in writing will eliminate unnecessary stress afterwards.
Finally, you can find a surrogate in the United States by contacting your local Fertility Center or In-Vitro Fertilization Center. However, skyrocketing medical insurance costs have once again put the United States at a financial disadvantage and many other countries are offering Surrogacy Programs. For a list of countries offering Surrogacy programs check out Medical Tourism. The DNA Lady does not endorse any of these sites and strongly recommend potential families investigate fully the facility they intend to use.
All families are a blessing, no matter how you arrive at them or how you define them.
If you are planning an adoption, here are some terms used in the process.
Open Adoption - Adoption in which identifying information is shared between birth and adoptive parents and there is a plan for continued contact after the placement is made.
Mediated Open Adoption - is planned communication between birth and adoptive families while the child is growing up, spelled out in a written agreement. The agreement is mediated by an adoption agency representative who is sensitive to the issues for both sides.
Semi-Open Adoption - Birth and adoptive families who stay in contact by way of an intermediary as opposed to direct contact; they may or may not have exchanged identifying information.
Openness - in adoption refers to various forms of communication between birth parents and adoptive parents, such as an exchange of pictures and letters, meeting but not having ongoing contact, or meeting on a first name basis.
Open Placement - the birth and adoptive family meet at the beginning of the adoption; may or may not exchange identifying information; have no commitment of ongoing contact.
Independent Adoption - is an adoption that is carried out often with no counseling provided for anyone. The child is simply placed with the adoptive family.
Closed or Confidential Adoption - the birth parents and adoptive parents do not meet, do not share identifying information and do not keep in contact.
Triad ( the adoption triangle) - the three categories of people directly involved in adoption: the birth parents, the adopted, and the adoptive parents.
Birth Mother - (birth parent, biological parent) - refers to the person who gave birth to a baby. It is a preferred term as opposed to natural mother or real mother, causing implication that if the birth mother makes an adoption plan the adoptive parents are unreal or unnatural.
Birth Father - (birth parent, biological parent) - refers to the male responsible for refers to the male responsible for the conception of a child. The child born to the woman who was impregnated by this person will have the genetic components of the birth father and the birth mother.
Legal Parent - (mother/father) - refers to the woman to whom a child was born and the father of the child who is married to the mother or has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity.
Putative Father - (alleged) - refers to the person who is thought to be the biological father of a child but has not acknowledged this fact nor filed an intent to determine that he is the biological father.
Permanent Surrender / Relinquishment - refers to birth parents legally signing over their child to an adoption agency. Until the child is placed for adoption, the agency has custody of the child. Other words used are release of surrender.
Surrogacy and Private DNA Tests
There is a flurry of activity and paperwork and emotional highs and lows that go along with any pregnancy. This is not the time to worry about "hurt feelings" or "political correctness". You are in the process of having a baby via a surrogate mom and while most Surrogate Agencies are reputable, it is best to have a private DNA test
performed to confirm this is your genetic or biological baby.
Today's DNA tests
are non-invasive and to determine if the correct sperm and egg were fertilized a prenatal paternity or maternity test
can actually be conducted in order to remove any doubts as early as 9 weeks into the pregnancy. If the surrogate mother is undergoing an amniocentesis (usually after 12 weeks) or chorionic villis sampling (usually after 9 weeks) as part of her regular genetic testing during pregnancy, then at the same time, a Prenatal Paternity or Maternity Test
can be performed. A lab technician will remove a small sample of the amniotic fluid or fetal cells, which can be matched to the genetic mother and/or father to determine parentage
. A non-invasive cheek swab of the surrogate mother should also be collected to rule out any discrepancy.
While most Surrogate Agencies offer DNA testing at birth, it is strongly suggested that you conduct your own private DNA test at the same time for confirmation. If your surrogate mother is outside of the United States, the Consulate will require a DNA test conducted by an AABB accredited laboratory
to issue a U.S. passport for your child to travel back home.