About 23andMe

23andMe is a genetic testing company that uses your saliva sample to trace your lineage as far back as 10,000 years, and across 750 maternal lineages and over 500 paternal lineages. With more than 500,000 genotyped members, 23andMe also claims to be the largest DNA ancestry service in the world.

23andMe is based out of Mountain View, CA and has been in business since 2007, though they are not rated with the Better Business Bureau. Online reviews for the service appear to be mixed, with the most common complaints citing difficulty getting in touch with the company, poor customer service, long processing times, and vague results.

How 23andMe Works

Using a small saliva sample, 23andMe can trace your genetic lineage and provide “ancestry-related genetic reports and raw genetic data.” All information provided by 23andMe is claimed to be 98% accurate, and to be able to help you further expand your ancestral view.

Obtaining your genetic tests through 23andMe can be accomplished in three steps:

  1. Order your DNA kit.
  2. After receiving your kit, register your barcode.
  3. Provide a saliva sample, and send it back using the pre-paid packaging.

After the company receives your sample, it will then be “processed by a team of expert technicians” at the company’s CLIA-certified lab. While the 23andMe website states it will take 6-8 weeks for you to receive your results “after it has been received by the lab,” keep in mind that there are numerous customer reports claiming that it can take as long as 3-4 weeks just to make it to the lab in the first place. It’s only once this occurs that the 6-8 week timetable begins, ultimately making the entire process last as long as 3-4 months in some cases.

Related: Harmony Prenatal Test Review

After analysis, your results will be available directly through your 23andMe online account. They will be provided via an Ancestry Composition that breaks down the percentage of your DNA originating from different continents and sub-regions, and can even tell you what percentage of your genome originated from Neanderthals. Keep in mind that if your 23andMe test was performed prior to November 22, 2013, you will receive health information, which will not be included for tests performed after this date due to an FDA mandate. For ancestry-related questions, please click here.

23andMe claims to keep all your data—which can be imported to another lineage service—safe and confidential. Full details can be found here.

23andMe Pricing & Refund Policy

Each 23andMe testing kit currently costs $99, though you’ll receive a 20% discount on each additional kit you purchase in the same order. As of the time of this writing, testing kits were available directly through the company, as well as through Amazon.com.

If ordered through 23andMe, shipping for a single kit costs $9.95 for Standard, and $26.95 for Express.

If you cancel your 23andMe order prior to the kit being shipped, you may be eligible for a full refund. If you cancel your order within 30 days after receiving the kit (but have not yet shipped the sample back to the lab), you’ll be charged a $25 fee, and will lose shipping and handling charges. Once your kit has been shipped to the lab or used, no refunds are available.

Pros

  • Claims to be able to trace to genetic lineage back as far as 10,000 years, and across 750 maternal lineages and over 500 paternal lineages.
  • Claims to have more than 500,000 genotyped members, and to be the largest DNA ancestry service in the world.
  • Kit and testing only cost $99.
  • Full refund if order cancelled prior to shipping.

Cons

  • A widespread reputation for difficulty getting in touch with the company, poor customer service, long processing times, and vague results.

Bottom Line – Should you use 23andMe?

While the information found in your genetic profile seems interesting, 23andMe appears to have a widespread reputation for difficulty getting in touch with the company, poor customer service, long processing times, and vague results. As a result, you may wish to thoroughly research the competition prior to placing your order.

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5 Customer Reviews for 23andMe

Average Customer Rating: 2.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 2 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 1 1 stars: 2
Bottom Line: 40% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-5 of 5
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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Very dissapointed

    • England,
    • Oct 13, 2016

    Well, where do I start? I was able to view my DNA relatives for about 2 weeks, after that when I pressed to view DNA relatives it says there is an error. It has been saying that every day for the last 4 months. I have contacted 23andMe over a hundred times, their customer service stinks. I'm sure it's a machine, they ignore you and get back to you after you have messaged them many times with an apology but never answer your question. They say they are sorting it out, but after 4 months they haven't. I don't believe they are, how can it take so long? I'm so fed up with this site, it is just so unbelievable. And if anyone is thinking of buying a DNA test from here it's a waste of time and money as half or more of your DNA relatives are private, so maybe they are just fake and the whole thing is a scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Very interesting...

    I have had nothing but an informative, interesting interaction with 23andMe. I believe it's a DNA heliotrope, mine was complete with all the markers in place. All the numbers/cap letters and small letters, representing DNA information was in my heliotrope. I was warned that this information, if in the wrong hands, could interfere with my personal security. It's all legit.

    I'm not a scientist, but I'm not an idiot either. This company is new, and the science is new. Give these folks a chance to go onward with their obvious passion to connect the world, and show us that we really are all related in some way. Bravo.

    By the way, it only took maybe 4 weeks to get my results. No issues at all with customer service, but I did not try to contact them. My only issue is that they got my family relationships wrong, my half brother was reported to be my grandfather, but we are paternal half siblings. Understandable.

    I can't find my order number. Look me up by my email address if you need to verify my membership. Sorry.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    SCAM

    • Jan 11, 2016

    Read the fine print. You will pay them to sell your information to spam you and even offer your information against you to insurance companies and who knows who else. When I researched and asked them to cease and desist, they said no, it's too late. I paid for it and it's my information, what allows you to own it. SCARY and manipulative, companies should have to be up front.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 7 people found this review helpful

    23andme.com Review

    • Kentucky,
    • Jul 13, 2015

    Best company to use for DNA ancestry and testing. I have recommended this company.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Disappointing

    • UK,
    • Jan 11, 2015

    They do genetic tests for numerous medical disorders, most of which I have never heard of and most of them are not common, but the common health risks you really want to know about, such as prostate cancer and skin cancer are not provided.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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