Alphabet Soup

Almost every discipline and area of life has its own list of confusing abbreviations. Below is a list of our three communities and MPE-related terminology. Let us know if we’re missing something. Here are a couple of terms people have often never heard of but identify with when they have a DNA surprise:

  • Hiraeth: A homesickness for a place you may never have been; a longing for something you’ve never had.
  • Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

We need your financial support to continue offer our services for FREE and advocate for change


  • Non-Paternal Event (NPE) – conceived from an extramarital affair, tryst, rape, assault, or other sexual encounter that results in hidden, undisclosed, or unknown paternity.
  • Assisted Reproductionconceived from a gamete provider (sperm and/or egg), donor-deceived or birth via embryo donation or surrogate/gestational carrier and raised by non genetic parent(s).
  • Adoption – raised by non genetic parent(s) either formally or informally from a newborn placement, orphaned, foster care, foundling, black-market baby, stepchild, or hidden origins.

(above terms are ordered by probable frequency of occurrence)

Sometimes people refer to NPE as “Not Parent Expected” which means anyone who has a DNA surprise (adoptees, DCP, and NPE). Right to Know specifies NPE as non-paternal event only to gain insight into the three communities. 

What's an MPE

Misattributed parentage is a term used by professionals for decades and is inclusive of any one with a DNA surprise who discovers their parent(s) are not genetically related to them from an NPE, Late Discovery Adoption (LDA), or Late Discovery Donor Conception (LDDCP).


Language is dynamic. In some ways, this is a relatively new area of study even though there’s been adoption, informal donor conception, and NPEs for centuries. If you think we are missing terms or a definition should be updated, we welcome your income. info

  • Adoption: legally taking another’s child and bringing them up as one’s own.
  • AP – Adoptive Parents: the legal parents of a child who are not biologically related to the child. (AM – Adoptive Mother, AF – Adoptive Father)
  • AI – Artificial Insemination: when sperm is directly inserted into a woman’s cervix.
  • AID – Artificial Insemination by Donor: when sperm from a donor is inserted into the cervix of a woman in the hopes of creating a pregnancy.
  • Assisted Conception: Those conceived through the use of someone other than their genetic parent’s sperm, egg, or embryo; includes surrogacy as well.
  • ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies): fertility treatments where eggs or embryos are handled for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy.
  • Assisted Reproduction: a method of causing pregnancy other than sexual intercourse.
  • BC – Birth Certificate
  • BCF – Birth Certificate Father: The man listed on a person’s birth certificate as their father.
  • BCM – Birth Certificate Mother: The woman listed on a person’s birth certificate as their mother.
  • BF – Birth Father: A person’s genetic father.
  • Birth Mother (First) or Natural Mother: A person’s genetic mother.
  • Black Market Baby: Children who are adopted illegally.
  • BMom – Birth Mom: A person’s genetic mother.
  • BRW – Brother Raised With: a brother you grow up with who you discover is a half-brother.
  • BSE – Baby Scoop Era –  after  World War II to the early 1970s, there was an increasing rate of pre-marital pregnancies and a higher rate of imposed newborn adoption.
  • cM – Centimorgans: A unit of measure in DNA. The higher the CMs the closer the familial relation. This helps you estimate how you are related to a match. HERE is a great chart listing the range of CMs shared between relations. Or Check out DNA Painter to enter in two CMs to see the probability of a likely relationship. For example, a half-sibling shares between 1317 to 2312 CMs and full siblings share between 2209 to 3384 CMs.
  • Coming out of the FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt): adoptees (and all MPEs and genetic and raising parents) coming to terms with feelings and realizations in regards to their adoption (conception, connection to a child) and deciding to seek out genetic family.
  • Cross Sibling: This one’s confusing . . . your genetic sibling’s other genetic siblings you are not genetically related to. (Ex: Mary’s genetic dad is Paul and her genetic mom is Lisa. Paul is married to Anne. Paul and Anne have Angie. Angie and Mary are half-siblings. Anne has Doug from a previous marriage. Angie and Doug are half-siblings. Mary and Doug are “cross siblings”.
  • DCP – Donor Conceived Person/People: a person conceived through gamete provision.
  • DIA – Domestic infant adoption
  • Diblings: Half-siblings by donor conception (the term is not accepted by a majority of DCP).
  • Double Donation: When both and egg and sperm donor is used to create an embryo who is transplanted into another woman’s uterus.
  • Embryo: An egg fertilized by sperm in the very beginning phase of becoming a fetus.
  • FRM – Father that Raised Me: the man who raised a child and who the child thinks of as “father” and is not genetically related.
  • Gametes: Refers to eggs and sperm, and sometimes people lump embryos in too.
  • Gamete Provider (Donor): Refers to someone who sells or gives their sperm or eggs to someone or a clinic. People often use “sperm donor” or “egg donor” but we prefer this term because most do not “donate” their gamete, they are paid for them.
  • Genetic Bewilderment: Not knowing your true genetic identity which interferes with identity formation.
  • Genetic Mirroring: Seeing traits, whether physical or otherwise, in yourself and your family which helps you know why you look like and act like you do and shapes your sense of identity.
  • Genetic (Biological/Birth) Parent: The person whose DNA (genetic material) created you.
  • Genetic Recombination: The exchange of DNA (genetic material) that leads to children with combinations of different traits that can differ from those found in either parent. This is why two siblings do not share the exact same DNA and why there’s a range in the CMs they can share (see above). Check out THIS article.
  • Gestational Carrier: Where IVF is used and not the surrogate’s own egg(s); therefore the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby. Some state this creates more clarity if legal parentage is questioned, however it creates more medical issues for the surrogate.
  • Ghost Kingdom: the hypothetical world adoptees (and all MPEs) enter when imagining their birth family as part of their life.
  • GIB – Genetic Identity Bewilderment: growing up genetically unrelated to one or both of your parents and feeling out of place but not knowing why.
  • Intended Parent(s): the parents who use egg and/or sperm provision to become parents. Also Recipient Parent(s)
  • IUI – Intrauterine Insemination: sperm is placed directly into the uterus.
  • IVF – In Vitro Fertilization: When an embryo is created outside the body and then placed in a woman’s uterus.
  • Kinship Adoption: adoption of a child by a family member (someone related to one of child’s birth parents).
  • LDA – Late Discovery Adoptee: A person who discovers they are adopted as an adult.
  • LDDCP – Late Discovery Donor Conceived Person: A person who discovers they were conceived through assisted reproduction as an adult.
  • MRM – Mother that Raised Me: the woman who raised a child and who the child thinks of as “mother” and is not genetically related.
  • NDB / NDS – Newly Discovered Brother/Sister: a genetically related sibling you discover later in life.
  • NPE – Non-Paternal Event: A term used by genealogists since 2000 in a family tree placed next to a person’s name when it was believed their father wasn’t their biological parent. Sometimes also Not Parent Expected.
  • MPE – Misattributed Parentage Experience: The discovery of a change in a person’s perceived parental genealogy from an NPE, Adoption, or Assisted Reproduction.
  • Open Adoption: An adoption with some initial and/or ongoing contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents/child.
  • Raising (Social/Supporting/Adoptive) Parent: The person who raised you; who in your heart is your mom or dad. This person may or may not be your genetic parent, but they are the person financially responsible for you.
  • RP – Recipient Parent: A person receiving gametes from a 3rd party that results in live birth.
  • SMBC – Solo/Singling Mother by Choice: A single woman who chooses to become a mother who does not have a partner.
  • SRW – Sister Raised With: a sister you grow up with who you discover is a half-sister.
  • Surrogacy: A woman who carries and gives birth to a baby for another couple. Traditional Surrogate means the woman carrying the child uses her egg; see also Gestational Carrier.
  • Synchronicities: Coincidences that are not merely chance-based but are  deeply meaningful, suggesting an underlying pattern or connection. In the context of MPE – similar likes/dislikes (ie favorite color/food/music, career paths, political views) between genetic family and some raised outside the family.
  • Tandem Cycle: Fertility procedure for creating embryos from donor as well as from either of the intended parents.  Results in recipient not knowing which gametes will provide viable embryos – banned in UK & Europe for ethical reasons.
  • TRA – Trans Racial Adoption: A child who is adopted into a family that has a different ethnicity than that of the adoptive family.