LEHI, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today that, following the recent separation of children from parents in immigrant families in the United States, the company is expanding its pro bono initiative, DNA Quest — which helps reunite adoptees with their biological families through DNA testing — to help those parents who were detained at the border reunite with their children. The company is pledging 5,000 additional free DNA tests for separated parents and children who are interested in this opportunity.
For the DNA kits to reach the affected people, MyHeritage has begun contacting relevant government agencies and NGOs that are able to provide assistance with distribution of the DNA kits — to parents in detainment facilities and to their children placed in temporary custody. MyHeritage is also calling the public to assist — anyone who can help with the distribution of the DNA kits and is in touch with the separated families is requested to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The DNA results will be processed by MyHeritage and not shared with any third parties.
In recent months, the detention of migrant families involved divergent paths for parents and children, making it hard and sometimes impossible for each to track the other through the separate systems. Parents who crossed the border into the United States illegally have been placed in Department of Homeland Security detention, while their children were sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The children were subsequently placed in government facilities or foster care, resulting in separation from parents, who are often unable to locate or communicate with their children. In recent months, the ORR has not always been able to identify children on behalf of the parents searching for them and children are not always notified of their parents being deported, lessening the chances of the parents and children ever being reunited. DNA testing can accurately match between parents and their children, enabling parents to locate their children and reunite with them once the parents are released from custody or deported.
“In light of the humanitarian tragedy that has taken place, in which children have been separated from their parents, we have decided to rise to the challenge and take the lead in helping these families,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “By expanding our DNA Quest pro bono project to include families separated by the current U.S. border crisis, we hope to use the power of DNA testing yet again to do good, and to reunite parents and children who might otherwise never see one another again.”
In the first phase of its DNA Quest initiative to reunite adoptees with their biological families, MyHeritage pledged 15,000 free DNA kits to eligible participants. Following the close of applications on May 31, 2018, MyHeritage completed sending the DNA kits by June 6. Participants are in the process of receiving their kits, taking the tests and sending their samples to the MyHeritage DNA lab for analysis.
MyHeritage is the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage has transformed family history into an activity that is accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and groundbreaking search and matching technologies. Launched in November 2016, MyHeritage DNA is a technologically advanced, affordable DNA test that reveals ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to find new family members, discover ethnic origins, and to treasure family stories, past and present, for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. www.myheritage.com
MyHeritage launched the DNA Quest pro bono project in March 2018, with a top-notch advisory board of industry experts. For more details, visit www.dnaquest.org.