This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.

What can 23andMe do for me if I am adopted?

23andMe® can give adoptees a unique glimpse into their genetic legacy. In your DNA, we can find genetic traces of where your ancestors lived throughout history. The 23andMe Services report on your mitochondrial DNA as well as your autosomes and sex chromosomes.

There are a few reports and tools that are especially helpful for adoptees:


Finding Biological Relatives

23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but one feature can help you find and connect with genetic relatives.

DNA Relatives is a feature that you can opt-in to and compares your DNA to other 23andMe users that are participating in DNA Relatives and predicts a relationship based on the amount of DNA you share. These shared segments indicate that two people are related through a common ancestor. The number of relatives you will be matched to can vary due to the demographics of our customers. For example, people with European or Ashkenazi ancestry often have many matches while people with Asian and Western Asian ancestry will likely have fewer matches.

You can be confident that the matches listed in DNA Relatives are your relatives, even though they may be quite distantly related to you. The vast majority of relatives found by DNA Relatives share a common ancestor within the last five to ten generations. A few may be more distantly related. There is, however, the possibility of finding a much closer relative.

DNA Relatives also includes a map feature that allows you to explore where your matches live around the world.



Regardless of whether or not you are interested in finding biological relatives, we have a number of features that can provide you with information about your genetic ancestry.

Our Ancestry Composition report can provide you with insight into your recent ancestry. The feature estimates the percent of your DNA that comes from each of 45 worldwide genetic populations, offering a detailed view of your ancestry from before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes were on the scene. The report also compares your DNA to individuals of known ancestry from countries and territories in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania, to tell you more about where your ancestors may have lived within the last 200 years. This feature analyzes the autosomal DNA that you inherited in equal parts from each of your parents, so Ancestry Composition can tell an adopted person about their recent ancestry from both sides of their family.

The Haplogroup reports offer a different vantage point. The Haplogroup reports can shed light on the origins of some of our ancestors and on their migrations over tens of thousands of years. Your maternal haplogroup assignment tells you about your maternal-line ancestors, from your mother through her mother and beyond. If you are male, your paternal haplogroup tells you about your paternal-line ancestors, from your father to his father and beyond. Because females do not have Y chromosomes, they do not have paternal haplogroups. Females can still learn about their recent paternal ancestry in our Ancestry Composition report. Learn more.


Health and Physical Traits

23andMe can give you a glimpse at your biological parents' DNA simply by showing you your own. Your parents each passed half of their own DNA onto you, so your genetic composition reflects theirs.

The availability of the following category of reports is dependent on the type of service purchased - Ancestry + Traits Service or Health + Ancestry Service .

Our health and traits reports include Health Predisposition*, Carrier Status* reports, Wellness reports, and Traits reports. Our Health Predisposition reports help you learn how your genetics can influence your chances for certain diseases. Our Carrier Status reports tell you about variants that may not affect your health, but could affect the health of your future family. Our Wellness reports can help you make more informed choices that may relate to healthy living. Our Traits reports are a fun way to explore how your DNA makes you unique.

While 23andMe does reveal some genetic information about genetic variations that have been associated with diseases and conditions, it is not a substitute for a family medical history.

*The 23andMe PGS test includes health predisposition and carrier status reports. Health predisposition reports include both reports that meet US FDA requirements for genetic health risks and the 23andMe Type 2 Diabetes health predisposition report which is based on 23andMe research and has not been reviewed by the FDA. The test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks and reporting carrier status. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. Our carrier status reports can be used to determine carrier status, but cannot determine if you have two copies of any genetic variant. These carrier reports are not intended to tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future, the health of your fetus, or your newborn child's risk of developing a particular disease later in life. For certain conditions, we provide a single report that includes information on both carrier status and genetic health risk For important information and limitations regarding each genetic health risk and carrier status report, visit

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 1 found this helpful

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Submit a request

Ask a question through Facebook or Twitter

Or call 1-800-239-5230
Monday through Friday, 3:00am to 8:00pm PST/PDT