Marcus – Born 1976

Name: Marcus

Born: 1976

Where Conceived: Dr Newill, Harley St

I did a 23andme test in the summer of 2023 for the health screen as I was interested in the idea of BRCA testing at home due to my area of work. As a result of the test, I found out I was BRCA negative, half-brother positive! This was a complete shock, and my initial reaction was 1) this must be a mistake, and 2) I must shut down my profile immediately! I made myself undiscoverable on 23andme, and subsequently ordered an Ancestry test to see if that came up with any surprises. During the subsequent month I thought of every scenario of why I had a half-brother – my Dad had an affair, there was fertility fraud with my Dad’s sperm … but put my Dad not being my bio father at the bottom of the list as surely they would have told me and besides, I looked like him. After my Ancestry result came back, also confirming I had a half-brother I wanted answers, so I opened up my profile and made contact with my half-brother and subsequently found out I was DC. My initial reaction was shock, I swear my heart actually skipped a beat, and then fear of what I was going to do with this new information I had. Two weeks later I spoke to my parents, and they said yes it was true, my sister I grew up with was also DC and they had no intention of telling us as it was irrelevant as we were so loved. Two weeks later we sat down with my sister and broke the news to her. I had a wonderful childhood and never suspected this, and always felt I fitted in, so being DC didn’t explain anything for me, like I know it does for some people.

My immediate reaction was to protect my parents and reassure them everything was ok and I still loved them. However, after more time to process things, I started to think about what it meant for me and the slow realisation of all the implications beyond my Dad not being my bio father.  For example, my sister was actually my half-sister, I had no biological relation to half my family, my parents kept information from me for 47 years, my children had DNA in them from someone I have never met, the list goes on… Now I am trying to find my new normal and manage my expectations about how I expect my parents, and everyone else to think and feel. After all, can anyone get it if they haven’t been through it? That also applies to how well I can understand what my parents went through when their doctor told them he would destroy the evidence as consensus back then was to never tell anyone. My parents put it to the back of their minds thinking it was irrelevant now they had their baby. Irrelevant to them maybe, but not irrelevant for me. The world was very different in the 70’s to what it is now. Convincing yourself something is irrelevant for 47 years is a hard thing to “undo”. Can we ever truly understand what others feel if we haven’t experienced what they have or should we agree to meet in the middle somewhere?

I have really enjoyed getting to know my new half-brother and we have met up several times. It was amazing to feel the instant connection, both from genetics and our shared experience. My relationship with my sister is stronger than ever as we have bonded through this shared experience. I almost feel that as a result of this whole journey there may be a net positive – let’s wait and see as it’s not over yet!

I am passionate about advocating for the voice of DC people now, and being an active part of DCUK, as there are so many misconceptions about us. Specifically that biological identity is not important or relevant when you have a loving family. I am also passionate about the voice of DC people in the future. So we need to get rid of any shame and secrecy about donor conception to encourage all people that have a child through this method to tell their child as early as possible. And finally, I want people considering donor conception to think not only about having a baby but also that the baby will grow to an adult who will ask questions and have feelings.

My learnings from this all are firstly that it is a journey – whatever you feel at one point will definitely change in the future, shared experiences are bonding (i.e. with my sister and half brother, and other DC people I have met), and finally that family relationships are a combination of biology and shared experiences, and everybody interprets the importance of these two things differently.


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