A Daughter Gave Her Parents A DNA Test, Which Revealed A Life-Changing Secret

By 2020, over 30 million people worldwide had taken a DNA test. Many take it to learn more about their ethnicity. For Rebecca Cartellone, it was a gateway to her father’s proud Italian heritage. But instead of being a fun Christmas present, these DNA tests revealed a harrowing secret that permanently changed the family.

It Began With An Exciting Christmas Present

In 2018, Rebecca Cartellone bought a shared Christmas present for her entire family: a DNA testing kit to find out her family’s heritage.

The Cartellone family poses for a photo in front of a restaurant.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Rebecca is the only daughter of Joseph (Joe) and Jennifer Cartellone. This wasn’t the first time their family heritage had come up; she had expressed an interest in it long before.

The Family Had A Proud Italian Lineage

The Cartellones had a proud Italian ancestry, mainly from Joe’s side of the family. Rebecca, 24, had researched her ancestors before. She was curious about how much Italian was in her blood.

Rebecca takes a photo with her mother in front of a Christmas tree.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Contrary to popular belief, DNA is not a 50/50 ratio between the mother and daughter. That is why families often take DNA tests together.

How Does An Ancestry Kit Work?

The Cartellones bought their kit from Ancestry.com, but most work the same way. They require a person’s DNA sample, usually in the form of saliva through a spit test tube or cheek swab.

A person opens an at home DNA kit from ancestry.com.
George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The results are then sent to a database that logs a person’s DNA and connects them to others.

These Tests Connect People To Previously-Unknown Relatives

Ancestry kits are famous (or perhaps notorious) for revealing new relatives. When a person’s DNA matches another person in the database, the ancestry explains how they are related.

A woman checks her ancestry connections on her iPad on ancestry.com.
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many people have discovered long-lost relatives through DNA tests. For parents and children, the results reveal which parts of the child come from which parent.

The Cartellones Got Mystifying Results

The Cartellones sent in their DNA kits right after Christmas. In late January, they received their results. But they never could have anticipated what they found out.

Rebecca and Jennifer pose for a photo together.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Rebecca had no trace of her father’s DNA. In fact, there was hardly any Italian at all. The ancestry site even said that Rebecca and Joe were not related.

Joe Seemed To Be Out Of The Picture

“When we looked at the results, what we immediately noticed was that that there were no traces of Italian DNA in [Rebecca’s results] at all,” Joe told Good Morning America.

Joe is photographed eating dinner with his daughter, Rebecca.
Joe Cartellone/Facebook
Joe Cartellone/Facebook

“Her DNA matched my wife’s pretty closely.” Since the results seemed half right, Joseph assumed that the ancestry site had made an error.

Could The Ancestry Company Have Messed Up?

Joe called the ancestry business and expressed his doubts. According to him, the employees gave him a step-by-step process for how they calculate a person’s DNA.

The ancestry company offices are seen in Salt Lake City, UT.
AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

After Joe listened to the employees, he believed that the ancestry site could not have made a mistake. So what happened? And who was Rebecca’s father?

Perhaps Their IVF Went Wrong In 1994

The answer dates back to 1994. When Joe and Jennifer wanted a child, they pursued IVF.

Embryologist Ric Ross holds a dish with human embryos for IVF.
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

IVF, or in vitro fertilization, removes eggs from a mother and then fertilizes them with the father’s sperm. After the egg is fertilized, it is put back into the mother. IVF is the most popular route for couples who struggle with infertility.

To Confirm This, They Took A Paternity Test

With no other options, Joe and Rebecca Cartellone took a paternity test to confirm the results. They were correct; Rebecca was not Joe’s daughter.

All three members of the Cartellone family are photographed in front of the beach.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

But they still had many unanswered questions. In the words of genealogist Debbie Kennett, “the DNA on its own doesn’t give the science; you need the contextual family information as well.”

The Doctors Mixed Up Rebecca’s Dad

Joe and Jennifer underwent IVF at Christ Hospital near their hometown of Dublin, Ohio. The physicians told them that they would use Jennifer’s egg and Joe’s sperm.

Joe and Jennifer Cartellone smile for a photo together.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Because of the DNA results, Joe realized that Christ Hospital mixed up their sperm samples. Rebecca was not his biological daughter, and nobody knew who was.

Is This Possible?

Unfortunately, sperm mix-ups are more common in IVF than many would like to believe. Because fertility clinics house so many sperm donations, a mix-up is always possible.

A woman holds up vials of embryos for IVF treatments.
JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images
JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images

In 2017, news broke about a Dr. Donald Cline, who used his own sperm in multiple IVF treatments in the 1980s. These stories breed distrust in patients across the world.

Joe Felt Crushed

Joe felt crushed by the realization. “It’s hard to explain the shock and agony when you find out that someone you love and care for—your own daughter—is not genetically related to you,” he said during a press conference.

Joe Cartellone is pictured in a photo with Rebecca's arm on his shoulder.
Joe Cartellone/Facebook
Joe Cartellone/Facebook

“My disbelief turned quickly to shock and then ultimately to anger that this could possibly be the case.”

Jennifer Was Not Doing Well, Either

Joe said that the news had been “extremely difficult” for his family. “My wife Jennifer is still in shock.”

Jennifer Cartellone smiles for a photo in front of a Christmas tree.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

“She has to deal with the fact that this clinic…fertilized her eggs with a complete stranger’s sperm and placed them in her body,” Joe explained. Not only is this traumatizing; it’s also illegal.

Rebecca Felt Guilty For Even Getting The DNA Tests

Perhaps the most negatively impacted family member was Rebecca. After the fallout, she felt guilty for even buying the DNA kits in the first place.

Rebecca Cartellone is photographed in snowboarding clothes.
Joe Cartellone/Facebook
Joe Cartellone/Facebook

Joe claimed that Rebecca experienced “significant emotional distress and confusion regarding her own identity.” She was also “profoundly disappointed” that she could not give birth to a child with both of her parents’ genetics.

Distraught, The Cartellones Reached Out For Help

Distraught and confused, the Cartellones sought legal help. They reached out to the Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane law firm to figure out what to do.

The Cartellone family is photographed during a dinner at a restaurant.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

The lawyers were equally as appalled. “This is a massive betrayal of trust and an unthinkable break of trust,” said managing shareholder Joseph C. Peiffer.

Fertility Clinics Could Get Horrendous Legal Repercussions

Fertility clinics that mix up sperm donations are susceptible to harsh legal repercussions. For one thing, Jennifer never consented to another man’s sperm fertilizing her egg.

A couple talks to a professional at a fertility clinic.
Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Another issue is that children might have a likelihood of genetic diseases that the family did not know about. Rebecca might be at risk of certain conditions, and she would not know it.

Who Was Rebecca’s Biological Father?

More than anything, the family wanted to know who Rebecca’s biological father was. Their lawyers helped them trace the DNA results, which linked to five men that Rebecca had never met.

Rebecca and her parents, Joe and Jennifer, are in front of their Christmas tree.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

According to the family’s lawyer, Adam Wolf, one man “previously worked as a doctor at The Christ Hospital.” This is a disturbing find.

The Fertility Doctors Might Have Sabotaged The IVF Process

If Rebecca’s biological father was a doctor, there is a high likelihood of sabotage. Even if it wasn’t intentional, it is still unethical.

During the IVF process, embryos are being selected from a petri dish.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“I would strongly urge them to have their eyes wide open and understand something we did not at the time, which is that this is an industry that has a lot of issues and errors and mistakes, and even some intentional,” Joe said during a press conference.

Does Joe Have Other Biological Children?

The family also wants to know what happened to Joe’s sperm. “If you provide sperm to create an embryo and you find out that sperm was not used for your daughter, you have to wonder, where did your sperm go?” Wolf said.

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Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Was it used to fertilize another family’s eggs? If so, Joe would have other children somewhere.

The Cartellones Are Suing The Hospital

Desperate for answers, the Cartellones–Joe, Jennifer, and Rebecca–are suing Christ Hospital and all of its involved facilities.

A hospital in Ohio is seen from a distance.
MEGAN JELINGER/AFP via Getty Images
MEGAN JELINGER/AFP via Getty Images

The lawsuit is tackling three entities specifically: Christ Hospital, the Institute for Reproductive Health, and Ovation Fertility Cincinnati. The family demands responsibility for Rebecca’s ancestry along with monetary compensation. But this will not be an easy lawsuit.

The Hospital Is Charged With Battery And Neglect

In the best-case scenario, this mistake with the Cartellones is both a breach of contract and negligence. However, Wolf is also charging the hospital with battery.

A doctor holds an IVF petri dish.
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

In criminal law, battery is a physical act that results in harmful contact with another person without their consent. Jennifer never consented to a different sperm donor.

The Institute for Reproductive Health Did Not Exist In 1994

In response to the lawsuit, the Institute for Reproductive Health released a statement. A spokesperson said that it did not exist in the early ’90s.

A biologist performs in vitro fertilization.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Officials claimed that the fertilization occurred in a different, unaffiliated lab. “Our physicians are not involved in the fertilization of eggs with sperm, as this process is handled by embryologists in the IVF laboratory,” the statement explained.

The Ovation Center Didn’t Exist, Either

The Cartellones were even less lucky with Ovation Fertility Cincinnati. The current facility did not open until the 2000s; initially, it was The Christ Hospital’s Greater Cincinnati Institute.

A doctor points to an embryo on a screen.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“Therefore, any action that could have occurred in The Christ Hospital’s laboratory 25 years ago is unrelated to our lab,” a spokesperson claimed.

But Cartellone’s Lawyer Says Otherwise

Despite these claims, the family lawyer Adam Wolf had his doubts. He investigated the names of the Cartellones’ former lab director and doctor.

A male lawyer is seen in a suit.
Hunters Race/Unsplash
Hunters Race/Unsplash

Both the director and doctor (whose names are kept confidential) now work for the Institute of Reproductive Health. So it is still possible to discover what happened with the IVF treatments.

The Hospital Is Not Providing Any Answers

Meanwhile, the hospital staff is even less helpful. CNN, NBC, and Good Morning America reached out for comment, but the Christ Hospital Health Network declined each one.

A sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, is seen on a doctor's desk in his office.
Adam Berry/Getty Images
Adam Berry/Getty Images

The only bit of information released was that the hospital is “evaluating the allegations surrounding events alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s.” Who knows where this will go?

The Cartellones Weren’t The Only Victims

The Cartellones were not the only ones to suffer from an IVF mix-up. The law firm they hired, Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane, represented many other clients with IVF struggles.

The Cartellones--jennifer, rebecca, and joe--are photographed together.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

All of these families are confused and distressed about their heritage. “One of the things we really want to find out through our lawsuit is what happened,” said Wolf. “Right now, we have no idea.”

There Are Even Support Groups For Surprising Ancestry Results

Ancestry tests have revealed many dark family secrets. Rebecca’s experience is so common that there are support groups for it.

A woman is comforted in a support group.
Rosie Sun/Unsplash
adrianna geo/Unsplash

In 2017, a Facebook group called NPE Friends was launched. NPE, or “Not Parents Expected,” is appropriate for anyone who found out that they are not related to their parents. It is a traumatizing experience for Rebecca and others.

The Cartellones Might Have Many Unknown Family Members

The Cartellones are haunted by the idea that they might have many unknown relatives. Rebecca wonders if she has sisters or brothers. She also has no idea who her grandparents are.

Joe and Jennifer Cartellone take a photo with one of their parents.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

Meanwhile, Joe wonders if he has children somewhere. The Cartellones’ idea of their family had been shattered, and now they have to pick up the pieces.

The Family Hopes They Can Help Others In The Future

Joe Cartellone has held press conferences about his case, as he hopes to prevent other families from being affected.

The Cartellones wear matching sweaters in this photo.
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook
Jennifer Logsdon Cartellone/Facebook

“These clinics need to be held accountable and they need to suffer real consequences for their actions,” he asserted. “We’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that this doesn’t happen again to anyone else.”

Joe Shared Advice For Future IVF Couples

Along with his desire to change the fertility industry, Joe aims to warn future couples who use IVF treatments. Most cases end up fine, but there is always a possibility of something going wrong.

Joe Cartellone is photographed sitting next to his wife.
Joe Cartellone/Facebook
Joe Cartellone/Facebook

Joe recommends performing a DNA test on the embryos “are implanted in the mother-to-be.” Also, research IVF and do not blindly trust the process.

A Triple Threat Is Born

The Dahm triplets were born in December of 1977. The triplets are identical girls named Nicole, Erica, and Jaclyn. The girls also have another sibling – a sister, no less. The Dahm trio are naturally occurring identical triplets which is quite rare. With multiple births, parents can also be under quite a bit of stress due to the possibility of complications.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Undoubtedly the Dahm family felt extremely lucky when their three beautiful girls were born perfectly healthy — and not to mention stunningly beautiful. It was clear the girls would have outstanding good lucks from childhood on with their beautiful blonde hair and stunning blue eyes.

The Thing About Triplets…

Because the triplets were identical, it made parenting even more tricky than it already is with just one or two babies. Before you can tell apart identical births by their own budding personalities, one must figure out how to tell them apart as infants! The Dahm parents came up with their own inventive way to tell the three beautiful girls apart, which some might find to be a bit crazy! They had their newborn triplets tattooed!

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Darrell Ingham/Getty Images
Darrell Ingham/Getty Images

Yes, they put a tiny dot on the girls’ bottoms so they could decipher who was who. Nicole was born first so she received one dot on the bottom. Next up, was Erica who received two dots to signify the second born. The third born was Jaclyn, she was not given any dot. I guess these days the girls can just claim the dots to be freckles!

The Girls’ Hometown

The Dahm sisters also happened to grow up in a small town, which as you can imagine got them even more attention than you could imagine. The small town was called Jordan, Minnesota and has a population of fewer than 30,000. The girls also attended the local public school, where they certainly stood out! Of course, how could you miss three gorgeous triplets with stunning blonde hair and blue eyes?

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Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images
Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

They were, of course, the talk of the town as well as the desire of the boys and envy of the local girls. As the girls grew, more than just their peers took notice, and soon modeling agencies came calling…

Attached At The Hip

As is common with many multiple birth siblings, the girls were extremely close and during their childhood and adolescence, they rarely separated from one another. While some multiples began to dislike their parents dressing them the same or giving them similar toys to play with, the further couldn’t be from the truth for the triplets.

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Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

The girls continued dressing alike and playing up their “triplet-ness” even into recent times. Nicole told Playboy magazine, “We rarely hold our own identity. We were always known as ‘You three’ or ‘The Triplets.’” Once the girls married and formed their own families is probably the first time the three were able to fully form separate identities.

Getting Discovered

By their teen years, the girls were already being noticed left and right for their stunning beauty. Of course, many began to murmur that the three should consider taking a venture into modeling. However, being from a small town, there aren’t too many opportunities for such a career.

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Teen Magazine
Teen Magazine

As 16-year-olds, the girls were able to enter a contest run by Teen Magazine called The Great Model Search. And the girls won! They had their first opportunity to grace the cover of a magazine. This was only the beginning for the girls and soon more opportunities would be coming their way.

Back-Up Plan

While the girls came to the end of their time in the local high school, they began to make plans for their future, including their career. Surprisingly, modeling was not their main focus, at the time. Instead, they all decided to attend the University of Minnesota. They also all entered into the nursing program, with the intention of all three working together helping people as nurses. While the girls were still in school, they came across something that would change their lives forever.

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Theo Wargo/WireImage
Theo Wargo/WireImage

While on campus, they came found a flier that advertised a Playboy magazine contest. They were searching for models that they could include in one of their magazines called the “Girls of the Big Ten Special Edition.”

A New Venture

The triplets had many discussions over what it meant to pose for Playboy magazine. Of course, the girls knew they would have to be completely vulnerable in front of the camera so it was a pretty big decision to make. With encouragement from their parents, Jaclyn, Nicole, and Erica decided to go for it. The girls soon met with a casting agent who was of course impressed by their stunning natural beauty.

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Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

The agent requested that they do a test shoot. Now, was the big moment of no return for the girls. A test shoot meant they would definitely have to disrobe for the magazine. The girls decided to go through with the opportunity. And they won, yet again! The Dahm Triplets were the first triplets ever to be featured as the centerfold in Playboy magazine.

A Risque Moment

In the moment that the triplets decided to Playboy, they also knew that it would derail life (and their nursing plans) as they knew it. The girls knew that taking the risk would also open them up for criticism. However, the girls’ parents gave them their blessing. Of course, the girls also had each other to lean on through the intense experience.

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Lester Cohen/WireImage for PMK/HBH
Lester Cohen/WireImage for PMK/HBH

The girls were subsequently interviewed by Playboy magazine for their famous spread in 1998. Jaclyn said, “We would never have done this (modeled for Playboy) as individuals.” Little did they know that this modeling contract would open so many doors – and lead to a shocking DNA test.

A Hollywood Dream

Upon arriving in Hollywood, it seemed as though the girls almost immediately found success. Ask any struggling actor or actress today in Hollywood, and they will tell you that this is no easy feat. While some might argue that the girls’ “triplet-ness” was just being used as a gimmick, it doesn’t excuse the fact that they were readily accepted into Hollywood.

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Boy Meets World
Boy Meets World

Soon, the girls were even cast in a variety of television shows including the very popular Boy Meets World. Their roles were gorgeous sisters who lived near the older brother Eric’s dorm room that he shared with his friend Jack. The girls also later appeared on an episode of Family Feud with their dad and older sister. They ended up winning the show and taking homing ten grand!

A Life-Changing Show

The girls seemed to continue getting offers for various movies like Juwanna Mann and Pauly Shore Is Dead. They also won an episode of the show House Wars where they competed with their father and an assigned interior designer. The girls won the show and the prize was being able to keep the home they designed. Later, they participated in a show called Renovate My Family which aired on the Fox network.

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Greg Doherty/Getty Images
Greg Doherty/Getty Images

For one of the girls, this fateful show definitely changed their lives forever. Erica, the second-born triplet, met Jay McGraw who is the son of Dr. Phil. Jay was the host of Renovate My Family, and the two immediately hit it off. Soon the two had their first date and they both claim that it was love at first sight.

Jay and Erica Forever

That fateful meeting between Erica and Jay set off a chain of events that would one day lead to the triplets’ surprising DNA results. Jay and Erica got married in 2006. Jay, along with his father Phil McGraw, are producers on the TV show The Doctors. The Doctors is a show that has a panel of doctors discussing various health issues and topics.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

The hosts include Dr. Travis Stork (who appeared on a season of The Bachelor) and Dr. Andrew Ordon, among others. Jay had the brilliant idea to feature the girls on the show where they discussed various women’s health issues from the perspective of triplets.

Popping the Question

In order to reveal the details about their impending nuptials, including all of the engagement details, Jay McGraw, of course, had to appear on his father, Dr. Phil’s, show. Jay certainly did not hold back on letting the audience know exactly how he treated his dream girl. He recounted to his famous dad, that he took Erica to Dallas, Texas (which is where he’s from). Jay then went the traditional route and got down on bended knee. He said that he “asked her to spend the rest of her life with me.”

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Jesse Grant/WireImage
Jesse Grant/WireImage

The happy couple also spilled on the amazing engagement ring which happened to be a very impressive five-carat platinum ring outfitted with a tremendous diamond as well as two green emeralds.

Maids Of Honor

What would any one of the triplets’ weddings be like without their sisters to stand beside her at the altar as their bridesmaids? Of course, the Dahm triplets had to serve as those special ladies for Erica. Of course, many brides would dream of having identical bridesmaids as they are often already outfitted in perfectly matching attire. How much easier would it make planning if the bridesmaids were already literally identical?

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Jeff Vespa/WireImage
Jeff Vespa/WireImage

The bridesmaids for Erica were outfitted in stunning gowns made by Bradley Bayou while their sister Erica wore an absolutely stunning Chado Ralph Rucci gown. Erica’s gown was custom-made for her. What an amazing bride with two equally stunning bridesmaids!

A Wedding To Remember

Jay and Erica were married in August of 2006 and the two have now been happily married for over ten years. They were married at Dr. Phil and his wife Robin’s amazing property located in Beverly Hills. Jay and Erica also continued on their romantic streak and they both wrote their own personal wedding vows in order to exchange in front of their family and friends. However, they certainly didn’t shy away from having a huge wedding.

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Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic
Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

The two had almost 400 guests present on their day of wedded bliss! Robin McGraw said she noticed her husband Dr. Phil getting a bit teary eyed, which of course made her quite emotional. And she said she was crying “tears of joy” over her son and his new beautiful bride.

A Famous Father

Erica’s journey ended up taking her to marry into an already famous family. Her new husband, Jay McGraw, is the son of the very famous TV psychologist, Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil knew about Erica from the very get go and seemed to be quite fond of her as the woman in his son’s life. Allegedly, when Jay shared the news that he wanted to pop the big question to Erica, Dr. Phil was totally excited and couldn’t wait for his son to go through with it.

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Dale Wilcox/WireImage for Nancy Davis
Dale Wilcox/WireImage for Nancy Davis

Jay even asked his dad to be his best man on his big day. Clearly, the two have an amazing relationship. While appearing on his dad’s show Jay said that he felt that his parents “love her almost as much as I do” (when referring to Erica). How beautiful!

Triplet Experience On The Doctors

The Doctors also often have a celebrity guest host, for which the triplets appeared on the show. The triplets first appearance on The Doctors was definitely a hit and the three soon started making regular appearances on the show. The girls also discussed various women’s topics and other interesting issues that they have faced as twins.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Producers Jay and Phil McGraw eventually had an idea for the show that would certainly make an eye-catching show. Even so, the triplets never could have guessed that something as simple as a guest appearance on the show would be such a life-altering experience.

Pregnant Together

People seemed to really enjoy watching the triplets appear on the show. Triplets are already a relatively rare sight, so it makes sense that they would bring excellent ratings to the show. It helped that even more interesting medical anomalies occurred to the triplets that only brought more attention.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

The girls had all began to settle down at the same time, but it certainly came as a crazy surprise when they all found out they were pregnant within months of one of another. The girls were to experience yet another milestone together – pregnancy. Of course, The Doctors had to feature this amazing story on the show.

The Next Dahm Generation

In 2010, all of the girls gave birth to their first children. As if it wasn’t already crazy enough that triplets all had babies at the same time, the girls also were experiencing yet another bonding moment – they all had new baby daughters! Wow! That definitely must be some kind of statistical feat.

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Pinterest
Pinterest

As the triplets settled into motherhood, it seems as though they decided to take some time away from the limelight and instead focus on raising their children. However, as is usual with the girls, it was only a matter of time before they were back in front of the cameras. This time it was for one of the most shocking triplet updates yet!

DNA Test Hype

In recent years DNA tests for ancestry have become more and more popular than ever before. Particularly, because now there is at-home accessibility with the tests. The tests purport to show people information about their ancestors and ethnic makeup, including what countries a person might derive from. Several companies including 23andMe and Ancestry provide some of the most popular at home DNA tests on the market today.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

While some have claimed that the most recent DNA tests are quite reliable, others say there is no way for them to achieve perfect reliability at this period in time. One thing is for certain — they are more popular than ever before.

Decoding DNA

It’s almost amazing that in this day and age, we now have science right at our fingertips, which would have seemed almost magical in years past. In order to take a test, you first purchase a kit. Most companies sell DNA ancestry kits for around $100-$200. Inside the kit, the company sends a vial which you have to provide a sample of your saliva. Yikes!

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

While many people have said it seems as though it seems like a lot of saliva to provide, others say it’s only in order to ensure the companies are able to get the most reliable read possible.

Back In The Spotlight

The girls remained off-camera from the birth of their first child all the way until March 2017. In the meantime, the girls all became mothers a second time – this time they each had a son. Because Dr. Phil and Jay McGraw are producers on the show, they came up with quite the interesting concept to pitch to appear on the doctors. With the growing popularity of DNA tests mapping individual people’s ancestry, they thought it would be interesting to test the reliability of such tests.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

They also brought on board Inside Edition journalist Lisa Guerrero to conduct the research. The triplets seemed like the perfect subjects to test such a test since they are identical and one would assume their genetic makeup would be very similar.

Matching Kids

After the girls’ all had their daughters within months of one another, they also all gave birth to their second children – sons also within a relatively short time period of one another. All three girls are now married with a daughter and son born in that order.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

What are the odds of that? Of course, it must be an absolute dream come true to be able to raise your children together and have them have built-in best friends for the years to come! Although being a mom is a far cry from their Playboy days, the girls remain as beautiful as ever!

Surprises To Come

You then send off your package in the mail and wait for your results. Results typically are able to tell you where your ancestors are originally from, sometimes you are even able to be linked to actual living relatives. The Dahm triplets decided to undertake this very process, except that instead of the privacy of their own home they were going to do it for an episode of The Doctors.

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Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

It would seem that the results would be very straightforward as the girls are identical triplets, which should mean they share identical DNA. No one would have been able to guess the astounding results!

Identical DNA?

After you submit the saliva sample to the company, it takes a few weeks before the DNA tests could be returned to you. The Dahm triplets underwent this exact same process. No one was expecting any kind of out of the ordinary surprises. After all, identical triplets mean identical DNA, doesn’t it? Lisa Guerrero, the Inside Edition journalist undertaking the project, was already doubtful about the reliability of the tests.

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Lester Cohen/WireImage for PMK/HBH
Lester Cohen/WireImage for PMK/HBH

She thought perhaps the companies were simply more about crafty marketing than really being able to tell you are your ethnic or ancestral makeup. It would only be a short period of time before the girls would appear live on The Doctors and have their results revealed to them.

Genetic Fascination

What a long journey Erica, Nicole, and Jaclyn have been on throughout their extraordinary life. First, they journey together through life as the rarity of triplets, then they book Playboy together, and now they are getting ready to have DNA results revealed about their genetic makeup live on television! One day, their biographies will certainly be an interesting read.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

The girls also conceded that they are also interested in genetics and biology, especially because they originally intended on joining the health professions field as nurses. Perhaps, the girls would even be in a unique place to aid the industry due to their identical triplet status. The girls chose to go with the company 23andMe.

The Results

23andMe is known for their ancestral DNA testing but they are also known for offering testing which can reveal even more delicate information like health risks. When the time came for the girls to appear on the show their first results were relatively uninteresting. For one, it definitely showed that they were identical triplets. If you take a glance at the above photograph, this is definitely no surprise.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Apparently, the girls are so close in appearance that Erica is able to open up Nicole’s safe with her own fingerprints. Apparently, their fingerprints are almost identical which is a rarity even for multiple births. Wow!

The Mystery Deepens

The next part of the reveal focused on the results which showed the girls’ individual ethnic makeups. This particular part of the results actually went into the ancestry of the triplets and is supposed to reveal where their ancestors come from. Because the girls are siblings, identical triplets at that, one would think they would share the exact same relatives. Of course, the Dahm Triplets did not expect anything interesting to revealed on this go ’round.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

However, they and the audience would be wrong about their assumptions. The girls’ results were revealed to them as the show was taped, so it was definitely interesting to watch their surprise at the coming results.

Not Identical Ethnicities?

As far as genetics goes, all three of the triplets had their results show up as being 99% European. However, it was when that percentage began to be broken down that some real discrepancies began to arise. As the results were revealed on the show, the girls, the audience and even the doctors themselves were more and more shocked at the results.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

First, it was revealed that Erica had around 16% Irish and British ancestry, however, Nicole had 18% Irish and British ancestry. Well, that seems to be fairly minor so far right? It was only going to get crazier as more was revealed!

Different Ancestry?

The rest of the results continued to deviate from what was expected. The 23andMe test showed that while all three girls had French and German heritage, each triplet had a different percentage. Nicole had 11% French and German, Jaclyn had 18% and Erica had 22.3%. Eleven to 22% seems like a pretty drastic difference for triplets with identical DNA.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

For their Doctors segment, each time a new percentage was revealed it would flash on the screen and the audience would react in absolute amazement. The girls themselves were also clearly very confused about how their differing results could happen.

The Final Ethnicity

The final ethnicity to be revealed was the girls’ Scandinavian heritage. And for this one, yet another shocker was revealed. Two of the girls, Erica and Jaclyn both had the exact same results with the same percentage of Scandinavian ancestry at 7.4%. However, Nicole had a totally different and higher percentage at 11.4% Scandinavian.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

The Doctors, the Inside Edition reporter, and the Dahm triplets themselves were totally shocked at the amazing results. It turns out, these amazing ancestry DNA results might reveal even more about DNA science than previously known.

An Interesting Possibility

The Dahm Triplets were totally confused at how this could be a possibility. Nicole said on the program, “I’m surprised. I’m surprised because we came from the same egg and DNA. How are our ancestries different?” Dr. Travis Stork, one of the hosts, expressed his own doubts about the results.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Dr. Stork said that perhaps these tests should just be used for fun instead of being taken as a serious indicator for ethnicity. Inside Edition also ran their own show that showed the results, however, they also showcased two other sets of triplets and they also used two other types of DNA kits.

For A Good Time Only

Dr. Travis Stork said, “I think the answer here is that we’ve come so far in terms of genetic testing, but you can’t just spit in a cup and have every single answer that you are looking for.” On Inside Edition, another set of triplets had similar results with another DNA kit. Only one set of triplets had results that were extremely close which was a test done with Ancestry DNA.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Perhaps one day, at-home testing for ancestry will become even more streamlined and accurate. However, in the meantime, it’s definitely interesting to get a peek inside where your ancestors may have descended from many years ago!

The Journalists Take

Inside Edition journalist, Lisa Guerrero, originally expressed she was unsure if taking a DNA test while in your own home could provide reliable results. However, she also conceded that she was interested in finding out more about her own ethnic makeup and would also like to take a DNA test herself.

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The Doctors/CBS
The Doctors/CBS

Lisa said that she knew her mother’s ancestry was of some kind of Latino descent while her father was English. However, she was unsure about the actual background of her ancestors. Participating in the show alongside the Dahm triplets only made her more interested in her own personal background.