Alphabet Soup

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

  • 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.

What's an MPE

Misattributed parentage is a term used by professionals for decades, is inclusive of everyone who has a DNA surprise, and is a more accurate description of our experiences. A Misattributed Parentage Experience (MPE) is the discovery of a change in a person’s perceived genealogy from a:

  • Non-Paternity Event (NPE): extramarital affair, tryst, or other sexual encounter and rape or assault;
  • Assisted Reproduction: Gamete Provider (Sperm and/or Egg), Embryo Donation, or Surrogacy;
  • Adoption: New Born Placement, Hidden, Orphan, Foster Care, Late Discovery Adoptees (LDA), or Stepchild;
  • or any other event which resulted in a change in, or understanding of, your genealogy.

(the above is ordered by probable frequency of occurrence)



  • Adoption: legally taking another’s child and bringing it 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.
  • 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.
  • Birth Mother (First) or Natural Mother: A person’s genetic mother.
  • 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 so when you look into your genetic mirror you know those traits have been passed down from your family which helps form 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.
  • 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, which occurred from a previously unknown or undisclosed extramarital affair or tryst; adoption (formal or informal, hidden, orphan, foster care, late discovery adoptees (LDA), etc.); assisted conception (Sperm Donation, Egg Donation, Embryo Donation, Surrogacy, etc.); rape or assault; or any other event which resulted in unknown parental genealogy.
  • 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. Gestational  Surrogacy where IVF is used (not the surrogate’s own eggs) and therefore the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby.
  • 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.