I took DNA test for fun – and found out I was raising strangers son for years

I took DNA test for fun – and found out I was raising strangers son for years


A woman opened up about how a DNA test she took for fun ended up uncovering a huge family secret.

Donna Johnson, 47, never imagined the bombshell that would explode in their lives, until a few years ago.

The mum and her husband Vanner, 47, were gobsmacked to find out their then 12-year-old son wasn't actually his.

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The results discovered her husband was the father of their eldest boy, but not for their youngest.

After realising their fate, Donna realised the mistake could have happened as a result of a mix-up at their IVF clinic.

The couple, who met in high school, married in 2003 and had their son Vanner Jr, now 18.

They wanted another kid, but Vanner developed hernia problems and surgery caused problems with conceiving.

In March 2007, the couple had their first round of IVF using her eggs and his sperm.

A year later in August, the pair welcomed their son Tim.

Vanner Jr had his dad's blue eyes and fair hair, while Tim had the mum's dark hair and was sporty.

Then when the kids grew up, the family, from Salt Lake City, US, took a DNA test to find out about their heritage.

But this is when they discovered Tim wasn't actually Vanner's son.

Donna said: "We contacted a lawyer, who reassured us we'd remain Tim's legal parents, which was a huge relief.

"But I struggled to watch Vanner come to terms with the fact that Tim wasn't biologically his.

"He wasn't any different around him, but I could tell he was in shock."

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The mum struggled to come to terms with the bombshell so she had help from a counsellor.

When Tim turned 12, Vanner took him out for some ice cream to break the news in October 2020.

"After they returned, I swept our son into a hug, telling him how much we loved him," the mum admitted.

"He was very quiet and said he loved us, too."

A few weeks later, Tim revealed he wanted to find his biological dad.

Using a second DNA test with another company, the family found a woman who was Tim's biological aunt.

After more digging, the family discovered a blog written by her brother, called Devin McNeil, who lived in Colorado.

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Then they found his number online which is when Tim called him in March 2021.

Afterwards, Vanner said Devin, 47, had been understandably sceptical but he finally agreed to do a DNA test.

Realising they were at the same IVF clinic, Devin's wife Kelly had gone for embryo implantation for their son Talon.

DNA tests confirmed Devin was Tim's father as well as Talon's.

And the sperm samples hadn't been swapped but Devin's had somehow been used for both.

Tim was excited when the couple told him they had found his dad which is when they all met in June 2021.

The couple met Devin, Kelly and their children, Talon, 15, Paxton, 10, and Londyn, eight.

Donna added: "Hugging a stranger I'd made a baby with was surreal, but my anxiety melted away as the kids played.

"I saw many resemblances in their mannerisms and interests – more so than in how they looked.

"Kelly handled the discovery well too, and her concern for Tim's best interests made me so thankful.

"As well as regular texts, calls and video chats, we met with Devin, Kelly and their children again in November 2021.

"Then, last summer, we visited them in Colorado. We settled out of court with the clinic in 2022.

"We still don't know how it happened, and it's frustrating the industry doesn't properly protect the families they serve."

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Now Kelly and Devin feel like an extension to their family.

Kelly said: "When the tests showed Devin was Talon's father, the relief was overwhelming.

"But the ramifications of what had happened to the Johnsons were huge.

"Despite our shock, Devin and I tried to stay calm.

"Telling the children was nerve-wracking, but they accepted it – and even thought it was exciting.

"My family is stronger than ever – and now that extends to the Johnsons, too."

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