News & Opinion | April 5, 2019 11:10 am

How a Home DNA Kit United 30 Siblings

The half-brothers and sisters range in age from 24 to 41.

dna test siblings
A 23andMe DNA kit helped link 30 siblings. (Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for LARAS )
Getty Images for LARAS

Shauna Harrison went from living her life as an only child to being one of at least 30 half-siblings who all share the same biological father.

Thanks to a 23andMe DNA kit — which had Harrison set up an online profile that she kept locked on private until 2017 — she was contacted by each new sibling, who range in age from 24 to 41, and now has a larger family than every before.

“It’s a very weird — is the only word I can come up with — feeling when you meet, because you know you share DNA with them,” Harrison told CNN. “We bond in a very different way.”

Harrison said that she was aware her parents used a sperm donor to conceive her but wanted to learn about her health and heredity background, which made her buy the DNA test.

One of Harrison’s siblings, Jodi Hale, said that she never really felt like she quite fit in with her family — both parents had blue eyes, for example, and she does not. What she discovered was overwhelming.

“Growing up as an only child, if you’re not making noise it’s quiet,” Hale said. “I remember having a physical reaction to my computer, thinking ‘What am I doing? Do I want all of this?’”

And, as more people send their DNA to the site, Harrison anticipates the list will grow. The siblings say they’ve seen an anonymous user pop up in their Facebook group but haven’t been able to get in contact with the person.