Discovering your identical twin through 23andMe

For 40 years, my twin brother and I didn’t know if we were fraternal or identical twins. We looked close enough to perhaps be identical. But we had enough differences between us that people could easily tell us apart.

Whenever someone found out that either of us was a twin, the first question always asked is, “are you fraternal or identical?” We’d always reply, “I don’t know. They didn’t test for that stuff in 1975.”

We enjoyed the mystery, are we identical? Or are we not? The unanswerable question!

I had always slightly hoped we were identical. Having a DNA-replica of yourself is mighty cool. We are both very creative, analytical, and confident. Plus, we grew up with many of the same interests such as art, croquet, and world flags. But how much of those similarities are nurture or nature?

I was also willing to accept if we were fraternal. Two brothers born at the same time, sharing the same womb for nine months. That’s cool enough by itself without being full-on identical.

Then DNA tests became mainstream. I took my DNA test right away. My brother delayed taking his test for a couple years. I think he wanted to keep the mystery.

A couple months before our 40th birthday, my brother decided the time has come for an answer. He took the DNA test and submitted his sample to their lab. We waited. Then just one week before we turned 40 years old, the answer appeared.

Under my log-in on the 23andMe website, a message stated, “We’ve found a genetic relative! Add your identical twin.” Such a tiny little box with such big news! Here’s a screenshot:

Full screenshot: We've found a genetic relative! Add your identical twin

Zoomed in on the notification box:

Cropped screenshot: We've found a genetic relative! Add your identical twin

Clicking through to my profile, 23andMe listed my brother as “Identical Twin. 100% shared, 23 segments”

Identical Twin. 100% shared, 23 segments

One-hundred percent shared DNA. Yup! It is confirmed. Thank you, 23andMe! We now have an answer to our 40-year-old question. We are identical twins.

Our birthday is just a few days before Thanksgiving. Thus, at the time, Thanksgiving was just a few days away. We were able to reveal our discovery to our family on Thanksgiving day 2015.

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