23andMe | Coopers DNA Journey


23andMe are leaders in domestic genome testing (autosomal DNA, your mtDNA, and your yDNA if you are male). Growing up the only way you would ever hear about genetic testing was via the news and criminal cases and if anyone had to go through paternity testing. Even so, it was very few and far between. The costs of requesting your own tests were extortionate and it wasn’t a viable method for the average Joe. We relied on the NHS for all testing and to take care of us.

Fast forward to today and while I am super grateful we still have a free NHS system, it has been stretched beyond all measures. This has resulted in a lack of funding for specific tests or medications – there is now a postcode lottery which is hugely unfair. This is where 23andMe come in, they allow you to take control of – YOUR – own health and wellbeing. This alone will take a huge pressure of the NHS as people will have the capabilities to understand their own biomechanics and chemistry and take action to improve it where possible, rather than taking up a multitude of appointments that may be unnecessary.



Not long after 23andMe started, I was going through a multitude of health issues, we now know what the condition is but at the time it seemed to be one thing after another, most of the issues were secondary to the main cause (which is common for most with chronic conditions). I did get a 23andMe test so that I could attempt to fix myself, I was fed up of continually going to the doctors, taking meds, being in pain and felt defeated. Taking the test allowed me to regain an understanding of myself, and my genetics so that I could work on my epigenetics to improve my health and you know, it absolutely worked!

When I completed the test I found I had the APOE4 Alzheimer’sgene and I was a carrier of hereditary hemochromatosis (H63D variant). My three sons dad also got tested so that we could look at both results and see what we could have passed to each of our sons, we found that their dad also was a carrier of hereditary hemochromatosis (C282Y variant). This, of course, meant that my sons could either have zero variants, have one variant and also be a carrier or hold two variants and have hereditary hemochromatosis. My sons are typically very healthy kids. Cole has Tourette’s syndrome (not coprolalia), Cooper was Coombes position when he was born and had a huge pyogenic granuloma on his forehead, he’s had ferritin issues, thyroid issues, textural issues and issues with fatigue, Rome was told he had ADHD but none of my sons have been on meds except for Cooper (iron supplements) and of course the removal of the granuloma.

Cooper seems to follow my traits more, he looks like me, he suffers in the same way with fatigue that I and many of my Imre line do so I decided to get all of my sons tested, one at a time, but starting with Cooper. I’ve always wondered if the kid will end up with hemochromatosis as he seems to be the unluckiest, and if he does have it, we can take steps now to ensure he doesn’t end up with liver issues because of it.

The more you know, the better you can prepare.

I’ve also wondered what their blood types are? I’m A+/O- and their dad is O+/O+ which means that I am a carrier of the negative type (Common in my Kelly line). With Coop being Coombes positive I do believe he is O+ but I wonder if he or any of them carry the lack of positive antigen which isn’t all that common? Similarly, I have issues with my C677T MTHFR gene which can cause a whole host of issues, I do wonder if Coop might have this variant also but if he doesn't, again it’s another one that’s manageable.

Either way, it will be good to know where we stand, for their health and even their own families' health as they get older, knowing what they can pass to their children is like having a magic key I suppose. Cooper on the other hand only cares about the ancestry aspect, he absolutely believes that he will have British and Irish, Eastern European and African ancestry even though I’ve told him neither I or their dad has any African ancestry but, the boy won’t listen. I think he has a bit to learn about how ancestry DNA is passed down haha.           

My ancestry includes:

Britain & Ireland
France & Germany
Eastern European (Hungary, Transylvania, Poland, and Czech)
Jewish (Poland)
Asia – Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, and Turkic (Russia)
Native American (Inuit)

Their dad’s ancestry includes:

Britain & Ireland
France & Germany
Scandinavian

As you can see there aren’t even trace amounts of African but I do love that he is passionate about the variety of areas. I know he will be gutted when he realises he’s a mix of the above. Maybe he’ll embrace his inner Magyar yet, who knows. Whatever the results show, we will use them to carve out a better and healthier future for him until he’s old enough to do so himself. While 23andMe is very basic in what information they provide (hello Government red tape) there are other sites such as My Heritage and GEDMatch where you can upload your data to get a more in-depth ancestry calculation. Likewise there are sites such as Promethease which allow you to upload your data to gain better health reports which you can print for your doctor to keep on your medical file.

What I will note is that if you plan to use the test to prove paternity, it won’t be suitable. 23andMe’s tests do not focus on parentage and will not stand up in court if this is a reason for consideration I advise you to opt for a court-appointed service.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome for Coop's test. Fingers crossed. 

Elyse

Statement: PR Sample

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