Two sisters were born just months apart in the same city of 1.6 million people 35 years ago.
But neither of them knew the other existed until Amy Measeles took a take home DNA test from 23andMe and eventually found Emily Sinclair.
Amy’s mother revealed to her 14 years ago that she was conceived using donor sperm, chosen to ‘look like’ the rest of the family.
Emily, on the other hand, was conceived the same way but had no idea, until Amy tracked her down via her own 23andMe results.
The two women were conceived using sperm from the same New Zealand doctor who lived in the US over 30 years ago, and managed to anonymously father at least five children in Phoenix, Arizona during his short time here.
‘We’re all basically 35 from Phoenix,’ Emily told Fox 10 Phoenix.
Now, the two women have discovered two additional brothers and two additional sisters, have become dear friends, and are even mistaken for twins from time to time, they told Fox.
Amy Measles (left), 35, knew she was conceived with donor sperm and found her half-sister, Emily Sinclair (right) living in the same city, Phoenix, Arizona, after taking an at-home DNA test
The development of cheap, at-home DNA tests, like 23andMe, has made it easier than ever to find their ancestors and relatives, as well as your genetic risks for certain diseases and conditions.
For donor-conceived people – especially those who don’t know this bit of their history – the tests can be much more than a genealogical road map, and bring about some truly shocking discoveries.
Emily spent the first 35 years of her life thinking she knew exactly who her family was.
But then she and her husband decided to learn more about their ancestries, so they took 23andMe tests – and everything changed.
After she took it, she was contacted by a woman, a stranger, but someone who lived in the Phoenix area, just like her.
The woman was Amy, and she was fairly certain she was Emily’s half-sister.
After receiving Amy’s message, Emily plied her mother for answers. At last the truth came out.
Amy’s father had struggled with infertility when the couple was trying to conceive in the early 1980s.
‘So, they really wanted a kid, and were told, “mix a donor sperm and your husband’s sperm, and maybe it will activate his, and you never know, just don’t tell anybody,” and that’s what they did,’ Sinclair says.
Emily had had no idea she was donor-conceived. It was only after Amy contacted her through 23andMe that Emily asked her mother for the real story of her conception
In those days far less was known about infertility, its treatment and donor sperm worked.
And even less was said.
So Emily’s mother and father said nothing to her, until she was suddenly asking her mother about a mysterious ‘sister.’
Emily reeled from the news. She told Fox she ‘took like, months, off of work, to process.’
But during that time, Emily’s mother walked her through her newfound history and Emily started to get to know her newfound sister.
The two joined a a Facebook support group and Emily even tracked down their sperm donor, a New Zealand doctor who had lived in the US during the time their parents were trying to conceive.
Curious though they were to find him, the half-sisters said they don’t intend to develop a relationship with the man.
Amy (left) said her parents (right) told her they simply asked for a sperm donor who ‘looked like them’ so that she would resemble them and her brother (second from left)
Growing up in Phoneix, Emily had no idea her father was not related to her by blood, and the discovery took months to ‘process’ she said
The sperm donor did, however, happily provide the women with a detailed medical history, so they could know more fully what runs in their families.
Fourteen years after finding out that she had a different biological father, Amy is thrilled to expand her family to include more siblings.
When she learned she was donor-conceived, Amy says, ‘it made sense.
‘I always knew growing up that there’s no way you took my mom and my dad and made me.’
She spent most of her life searching the faces of people she passed on the street, wondering if they were actually her family.
But now, she knows which Phoenix-area residents she shares DNA with.
‘I went from having one brother, and now I have three brothers and three sisters,’ Amy said.