Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

Happy Tuesday!

So a friend gave me a suggestion about a blog topic today – At-home DNA/Paternity Tests. I’ve seen these in Duane Reade and Target and thought to myself, “Wow, sure beats going on the Maury Povich Show!”

According to the directions, you take a cotton swab and rub it inside the child's mouth. That will provide enough DNA for the test. The man who may or may not be the father has to do the same. After you collect the DNA and send it in, it takes three to five days for the test to come back, and you can even go to a confidential Web site and get the results.

Now, instead of waiting (either "eagerly" or "fearfully") to hear the words “You are NOT the father,” you can simply go to CVS, swab the kid and wait a week or so to find out if Jr. is actually yours. Or, if you’re a woman, you can try to slip a Q-Tip in your man’s mouth while he’s snoring and test him without his knowledge so you know if you need to start looking for that one night stand or not.

Some think it’s sad that these tests exist over the counter now, while others think it’s a Godsend. Some feel that paternity tests should be mandatory at birth, while others think it’s a slippery slope. It’s been argued that DNA tests should be conducted to establish more than just paternity, such as testing for genetic dispositions to disease, etc. But the issue of consent and privacy violations comes into play when you swab a kid unbeknownst to the other parent - or even the child. Who has the right to swab the kid? Are you violating the child’s rights at all? And what do these companies do with the DNA results – keep them? Sell them to outside sources?

And the main question is how accurate are these tests to begin with? Studies have shown that most over-the-counter paternity tests are 99.9% accurate when you have enough of the child’s DNA, the father AND the mother. If you simply have the man’s DNA along with the child’s, it goes down to 99%. Still pretty good, right?

The tests cost between $20 and $30 and usually include a lab processing fee, which could be as much as $100. While that may still seem a bit steep to some folks, it’s A LOT cheaper than getting it done professionally, which makes these tests so attractive. I’m sure it gets even MORE expensive if a woman has to test several men – but it's still better than having 6 dudes sitting up on Maury’s stage. My guess, though, is that most of these tests are secretly used by men, especially if they have easy access to the child….or the man’s nosey girlfriend or new wife who questions paternity (for those of you who watch The Game on BET.)

So what do you think? Are drug store DNA/Paternity tests a good idea? Do you think a man has a right to test a child he suspects isn’t his without the mother’s knowledge, or should these tests require the mother’s DNA before giving results so that they know full consent was given? Do you think these tests should be admissible in family court when trying to establish paternity, custody or child support, etc. – even though not all of these tests are FDA approved? Should men not sign birth certificates until paternity is established, since most courts recognize the man who signs it as the child’s father – regardless of DNA?

A lot of questions - this should be good…let’s go!

-b

21 comments:

SarKism said...

first beyatches

Stef said...

DAMMIT!!!

The Cable Guy said...

Great blog B!

I don't think there's anything wrong with these tests because honestly, women are scandalous these days. The saying goes, "mama's baby, daddy's MAYBE" for a reason. Unless that baby comes out looking EXACTLY like you, then I can see why men want these tests available. Women will go to their grave knowing that child isn't yours before they tell you, especially if you're a good dude trying to do right by the kid. I say all men should do it.

Stef said...

@Cable Guy,

Maybe you shouldn't be sleeping with scandalous women! LOL!

I dont' think you can mandate that paternity be established at birth but I don't think there's anything wrong with at home tests, especially if you can't afford to have it done professionally.

However, I do think that you should have BOTH parents DNA to do it, so that there's nothing backhanded going on and so that the results are as accurate as possible.

Brooke said...

It would be difficult to mandate paternity at birth because the man might not be readily available at birth for several reasons. They may be estranged, in jail, in Iraq, on a business trip, or deceased...who knows. Some women get pregnant and never tell the father she's pregnant at all, so he can't be there to establish paternity even if he wanted to. Very tricky.

The Cable Guy said...

@Stef,

I don't sleep with scandalous women! But there are some women who don't APPEAR scandalous at first, but can change VERY quickly once they get pregnant. I've seen it, trust me.

Stephanie said...

Great topic. I think men have every right to know if a child is theirs or not. I feel it should be done at birth before he signs any papers or builds emotional attachments to a child. There is nothing more heart breaking than a man raising a child for years to find out the child isn't his. Now the child and the man are devastated.I had a friend who raised a daughter 4 12 years who found out he is not the father. He almost went crazy he was devastated. On top of that the mother had the nerve to completely cut him out of the daughter's life traumatizing them both.
For the life of me I will never understand how a woman doesn't know who her baby daddy is. I can understand 2 men but more than that is crazy. How can a woman sleep with 3 or more men without condoms. I mean really.

SarKism said...

OK I'm back :) Sorry Stef


When possible, I think paternity should be established at birth since signing that birth certificate obligates you legally to support that child. I also am a strong advocate of any form of DNA testing. I have had friends and previous BFs who were uncertain, paying child support but the mother would not consent to signing off on the official paternity testing. What is the incentive? Unfortunately the system is currently set up to support the mothers in every way possible with little or no advocacy for the father and his rights.

Annamaria said...

@Stephanie...that's why chicks get shot.

I don't get how women can not know who their baby daddy is but I guess anyone can slip up..

I honestly DO NOT think that a woman should have any say in authorizing a paternity test... like cable guy said there are a LOT of scandalous women out there & if a man has any doubts he should be able to lay those fears to rest without the woman interfering.

Jay said...

I agree that fathers should have every right to know if the child is his or not without needing the mother's consent. However, I do wonder what these companies do with the results. I don't think there's anything wrong with making these tests available but I wonder how much these companies are held accountable for privacy's sake. Your DNA is out there, as well as your child's, for anybody to tamper with. That's a bit shady to me.

Courtney said...

Can you imagine the looks you'd get buying a paternity test (or two) in the store? Wrap it up people and you won't hvae to worry about it! LOL!

I'm sure everyone on this blog is safe :-)

Annamaria said...

I wanna go buy 6 paternity tests just to see the looks on people's faces... Brooke let's got to Target! LOL

Brooke said...

I'll go, but I don't have a child to test them on :-)

Annamaria said...

We don't need the child I just wanna see people's faces..

We can stand in line & talk mad loud about how we gonna figure out who's kid this is..

Then we can return them & say we figured it out! LOL

Brooke said...

They'd be like "look at these bird chicks" :-) LOL!

Anonymous said...

My boy used one of these tests on his son after raising him for 5 years. He never questioned paternity until he found out that his girl had cheated on him with his best friend years earlier. Turns out he was raising his best friends son the whole time. He tested him twice. Not his. It's a good thing these tests exist for triflin' ass women like the one he dealt with. I'd have caught a case. He's still devastated, but he continues to raise his son even though he's not his. He's actually seeking full custody now but is afraid he won't get him since he's not biologically his, even though he signed the birth certifcate. Shits all fucked up.

Brooke said...

oh damn

that's so sad :(

The Cable Guy said...

@anonymous,

I'd be in jail cuz I'd have killed that trick...after I killed my best friend too. 5 years??!!!

nah son.

Anonymous said...

oh dude got f-cked up, trust.

and dude wants nothing to do with his son, so hopefully my boy will get full custody.

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