When I look at my kids, I have zero doubt they are mine and Anne’s. Appearance, mannerisms and behavior are all dead giveaways.
Besides, I was there when they were born, and we have the ultimate proof detector: they love books.
For some parents, such clarity is lacking. A few years ago there was a case where two children were switched in the hospital and it was years before the discovery made. There was another case last month in which two Czech moms decided to keep the reversed children, reports the Australian News.
Such cases are rare. Far more common are men – rightfully or wrongfully – who doubt their “dadliness.” Consider the black-haired dad who has a red-haired daughter. And where did that nose come from, anyway?
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but Rite Aid stores are now selling a paternity test kit called Identigene in California, Oregon and Washington, reports The New York Times. “There is a curiosity and a need to know that can be provided discreetly, conveniently and affordably at retail,” Douglas R. Fogg, chief operating officer of Sorenson Genomics, tells the Times.
Even over-the-counter, the product is not cheap: Consumers pay $19.99 to $29.99 to buy the kit, BUT there is a lab fee of $119 after dad swabs the inside of his and the child’s cheek. For more accurate test results, dad should also swab the inside of mom’s mouth. If you suddenly notice men in the West missing fingers, you know what happened.
While the tests may not have any legal standing, it certainly opens the door to dad getting the court to order a more formal test.
The social implications, are complicated. Men who doubt their paternity now have a tool that might help them clear their names.
On the other hand, how many husband-wife, dad-child relationships could be ruined by a dad who is curious about that red hair and tiny button nose? Will a man who raised his daughter for 10 years suddenly abandon her after discovering the truth?
Other questions: How failsafe are these tests? What happens if a dad gets the results in the mail and he goes off in a murderous rage? Is it wise to provide these such emotionally-charged results without counseling?
Sorenson’s slogan is “For questions only DNA can answer.” Perhaps questions about selling tests over-the-counter need to be answered first?