DNA TESTING FOR CHINESE ADOPTEES
When you’re searching for Chinese birth family members, it’s critically important to do a SNP (also called autosomal) DNA test through 23andMe and upload it to GEDmatch. You can also do a STR (also called paternity/CODIS) DNA test uploaded to Chinese databases. If you wish to anonymize your information, you can create any name and birth date you wish and use a separate/special email.
Download a pdf of this information here.
SNP DNA Test [also called autosomal]
This tests the autosomal (i.e., 22 numbered pairs of) chromosomes as opposed to the sex chromosomes (i.e., X and Y). The test checks about 700,000 pairs of locations in an individual's autosomal DNA. Companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA use SNP tests. SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced "snips").
IMPORTANT: No matter which SNP test you do, you should UPLOAD, FOR FREE, YOUR RESULTS TO GEDMATCH. As of October 2022, there are over 800 Chinese birth parents in GEDmatch.
Most Chinese adoptees are in 23andMe, and you typically find more people of Chinese heritage in this database than any other SNP company. 23andMe is a saliva test.
If you can afford it, you can supplement your 23andMe test with AncestryDNA, another SNP test. Some searchers have found Chinese relatives here, and adoptive families not involved in China-related Facebook groups may have also tested with AncestryDNA. This is a saliva test.
How-to Guide: Uploading 23andMe to Gedmatch
No matter which SNP test you do, be sure to upload your raw DNA data file to GEDmatch.
There are at least 800 birth families from China in GEDmatch thanks to the work of DNAConnect, Nanchang Project, Roots of Love, and others (see below). This is FREE and easy to do. GEDmatch accepts uploads from 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, AncestryDNA, My Heritage, and most others.
You can also match your own 23andMe and AncestryDNA results within GEDmatch. You may receive different matches for your 23andMe and AncestryDNA test results.
Nanchang Project &
The Roots of Love
DNAConnect.Org has located hundreds of Chinese birthparents and uploaded their DNA to GEDmatch. As of October 2022, they have successfully matched 140 adoptees to their birth families.
Note: DNAConnect.Org will collect and process SNP DNA for any birth family that is located and also stay in contact with them over the next 10 years or longer until a match is made. DNAConnect.Org charges to release birth parent contact information (being waived in a pilot project in 2022) – $50 if your donation is made before a match and $299 if made after a match. However, if you provide contact information for a birth family in China, any future match to you through DNAConnect.Org will also be free of fees to you.
Other SNP DNA Sites
Upload your raw SNP DNA data to the two primary Chinese sites, 23mofang and WeGene. There has been at least one match for an adoptee through 23mofang, and both sites give you information about which provinces and cities have people genetically closest to you.
How-to Guide: Uploading DNA to 23mofang
Accepts uploads for a fee (approx $45 USD) from 23andMe, AncestryDNA. Database is kept in China. A little challenging to use if you can’t read Chinese.
Accepts uploads from 23andMe and AncestryDNA with payment through PayPal (199RMB or ~$30USD). Database is kept in China.
Tip: Use the English site to create your account and upload your DNA data, but then use the Chinese site, with Google Chrome to translate, to see relative matches and additional information not visible on the English site.
Also consider uploading your SNP data to the following databases. These are all free and increase your chances of matching more people.
Please check your account(s) at least monthly for new matches!
If you get a message or see a match that shows an identical twin or sibling, please check first who the match is. You could have accidently uploaded your/your child’s DNA twice.
STR DNA Test [also called paternity/CODIS]
STR DNA tests look for unique repeating patterns in an individual’s DNA known as short-tandem repeats, STRs. STRs can be used to differentiate one person from another. Typically, an STR DNA test compares only 13 to 20 autosomal STR markers. With a STR test, you will only find a match to a close relative like a parent or identical twin.
There are four databases that only take STR test results, and not SNP like 23andMe. It's the most commonly-used DNA test in China right now.
Where to get a STR test:
LabCorp - USA, purchase the at-home single party test for $105. (New York residents can't order the at-home test, but will need to go to the local LabCorp office for the DNA test; cost is around $210.)
DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), offered at a discount through DNAConnect - $80 if you use USPS, or $95 if you select FedEx. Contact Mary Hult at 513-645-8886 or firstname.lastname@example.org to order, and tell her that DNAConnect sent you to get the discount.
Consanguinitas - Netherlands, €149
PappaTest - Sweden, SEK 1,195
EasyDNA - based in UK, with worldwide offices, £99
SUBMIT YOUR TEST RESULTS TO THESE FOUR DATABASES
Baby Come Home (Baobeihuijia)
How-to Guide: How to Search on Baby Come Home
Started by Chinese parents whose children were abducted or went missing (baobeihuijia.com), this group focuses on helping Chinese citizens find missing relatives. There are listings of Chinese birth parents looking for children, domestic Chinese adoptees looking for their birth parents, ads for lost adults, and international adopted children looking for birth parents. Open the website in Google Chrome to automatically translate the site into English.
To register with Baby Come Home and submit your STR DNA report, join the Facebook group Baby Home. Your DNA is automatically compared with DNA from others in the database. Look in the files section of the Baby Home Facebook group for information on how to register.
Chinese National and Local Databases
If you're visiting China, you can leave a DNA sample at the Ministry of Public Security (police station). It's free, but the uploads aren't always reliable.
There are several ways to enter your STR DNA into the national police database in China.
You can have DNAConnect.Org submit your results for you. Also If you traveled to China in the past and left a DNA sample with the police, DNAConnect can verify that the sample was actually submitted (which hasn’t always happened, as a recent experiment showed 40% of police station samples were never uploaded). You can submit your results anonymously so that only DNAConnect will know your identity. If there’s a match to just to one birth parent, they will conduct a follow-up SNP test and upload the results to GEDmatch for verification. The fee for this service is $25. Email BrianStuy@Research-China.org.
DNAConnect has worked out a discounted price for an STR test with DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) - $80 if you use USPS or $95 if you select FedEx. Contact Mary Hult at 513-645-8886 to order. Tell her DNAConnect sent you to get the discount.
DDC can also work with international orders - call Mary Hult at 513-645-8886 or email her at email@example.com, and she will provide a step-by-step process for adoptees living outside the U.S.
There are also local volunteer groups in China with their own databases, such as one in Jiangyin, Jiangsu and one for Zhejiang province. Check with the province search poster manager for your province to find out if they know of any in your area.
Help for Family Reunion (HFFR)
E-mail the STR DNA info below to BeeHFFR@gmail.com
Name – SWI assigned name is OK (Indicate which name to use in the database, Chinese OR English)
Photo of DNA results. You can remove your real name and address for privacy concerns.
Date of birth
Current residing country
Contact info – customized WeChat ID (don’t send WeChat code) preferred. Email is OK.
Pictures (2) – 1 headshot and 1 full body preferred
Adoption info – a few lines on where you were adopted, your finding place, your special physical features, etc.
If you don’t get confirmation in a week, email again or WeChat meefengbz
Email your STR DNA results to Help for Family Reunion, a private non-profit organization in China that has helped to reunite 760+ families since it was established in 2015. The database is kept in the U.S. Follow HFFR on Facebook to see new matches posted.
GenGen Charities, based in the U.S., helps Chinese adoptees search for birth families in China. They accept STR DNA tests to upload to their database and will regularly send updates if there are any matches. Email your STR results to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the GenGen Facebook group to see their postings about birth families who are searching.