MyHeritage is one of the big hitters when it comes to DNA test kit companies. The company was founded in Israel by entrepreneur Gilad Japhet in 2003. It wasn’t until 2008 to 2012 that the company raised some capital from outside investors and really grew their profiles to improve their family tree service.
Today, MyHeritage predominantly serves to help people discover their past. They do this by taking a swab of your DNA and analysing it to see if your DNA shares patterns with DNA from different parts of the globe. It’s a means for people to discover their ethnic origin and learn more about their family tree.
Who can benefit from such services?
Those who describe themselves to have a mixture of races that make up their ethnicity are usually very interested in the exact proportions. Questions like “what percentage of my ethnicity is South East Asian and how much is Columbian?”.
Humans are predisposed to craving knowledge about ourselves – it’s what makes us so special. Asking questions like “where do I come from?” and “who are my ancestors?” is compelling to most of us. Commercialised DNA test kits appears, currently, to be the most accessible and affordable way to explore answers to these questions. This is why they’re so commonly purchased at Christmas or other times of family-orientated festive times – the results are valuable to the family as a whole.
Many Europeans are under the illusion that 100% white European exists, and that they fit in this category. A recent discovery shows that ‘pure’ European does not exist. Our diversity from centuries ago is way more diverse than we expect, which means that anyone can receive surprising results from such a DNA test.
MyHeritage offers 27 personalised health reports from the results of the DNA. Polygenic risk scores can be used to see if your DNA is aging better/worse than it should have considering your age, as well as some disorders. There is some skepticism surrounding these health reports and they’re often misinterpreted by individuals. They can provide value to people if they are interpreted by their doctor, and keeps people on the safe side even if they’re not entirely accurate.
What are the costs?
Here are a list of the costs of services and subscriptions for MyHeritage.
- MyHeritage DNA kit (discover ethnic origin and find new family members) – £59
- Reports in carrier status (insight into 27 disorders) – £179
- The Ultimate Package (£189/yr; £129 1st year)
- Access to all historical data (£109/yr; £79/ 1st yr)
- Expanded family tree (£79/year; £59 1st yr)
- PremiumPlus expected family tree (£139/yr; £99 1st yr)
Unique Selling Points of MyHeritage
So, how do MyHeritage position themselves above competitors in the market? Here are some of the things that MyHeritage does better than its competitors:
Advanced family tree integration
MyHeritage doesn’t just send you some documents of family tree. There is a free family tree software that is offered to help manage the tree. This is included in every purchase of DNA test kit.
Another MyHeritage review claims that the company has the largest family tree service, and by looking at the statistics, it seems highly likely. MyHeritage claims to have over 47 million family trees, 10 billion historical data points, 3.6 profiles and 106 million users worldwide that have joined its community since the service was founded in 2003.
MyHeritage get results back faster than most, if not all, of its competitors. The time frame of the average DNA test kit company is a waiting time of up to 8 weeks for results. MyHeritage on the other hand takes around 3 to 4 weeks.
The very nature of finding out about heritage is that it must be a global service. MyHeritage supports 42 languages with its service, which is an impressively amount and greater than most of its competitors.
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any company. MyHeritage is perceived to be one of the best, with a 24-hour free hotline that is always available and short waiting times.
Criticism about such kits
Its family tree service may be large, but their ‘people tested’ database does not compare to the size of 23andMe and particularly AncestryDNA, which both have astoundingly large amounts of people tested.
The software provided is free, which is great, however it is not very robust. It seems to be very limited, and poses a complicated online system. For this reason, the company has received more negative reviews than many of its competitors.
The bottom line
MyHeritage is certainly a good simple option. For those who want a free, fairly straightforward and fast way to receive insight into their heritage then this is an affordable option. If they’re looking for more robust software and a company with a larger database, then AncestryDNA may be a better option. Furthermore, if you’re looking to combine heritage results with health insight, then 23andMe is more preferable. Ultimately though, MyHeritage is a great option for fast results that serves its purpose of building a simple family tree at a decent price.