The Atlantic

A Woman’s AncestryDNA Test Revealed a Medical Secret

As a cancer patient, she had received cord-blood cells from an anonymous donor. The DNA from those cells led her to him.
Source: Courtesy of Holly Becker / The Atlantic

In 2017, Holly Becker took an AncestryDNA test, and the results, she would only later learn, exactly matched those of a young man in New York. This was strange, but the test was not wrong. She really did have his DNA inside her. Two decades ago, she had undergone an umbilical-cord-blood transplant to treat her non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The anonymous donor’s cells became her cells, and they still course through her body today. That is what the AncestryDNA test had picked up.

This Sunday, Becker, now 45, , Patrick Davey, 25, for the first time, in Chicago. They laughed. They embraced. They told each other their life stories. Theirs is the first public case of a patient meeting their cord-blood donor. For nearly 30 years, donations from infant umbilical-cord blood have been strictly anonymous for ethical

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