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The Changing Face Of Paternity Testing

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 10:02 AM
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Paternity testing and the way in which it is done have undergone tremendous change over the last twenty years.

The first changes is that the number of people seeking paternity testing has increased in leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades. As people adopt more and more liberal sexual attitudes, many men are finding themselves doubting the paternity of children they are alleged to have fathered.  The only way out of such disputes is often a paternity test. With the sexual liberation, many women are now increasingly having multiple partners (which was previously the preserve of men). Now the tricky thing here is that while maternity is almost always a certainty – as a woman usually has a clear chance to know the baby she gives birth to is hers hence not much demand for maternity tests even when there are multiple partners – it is on the other hand harder for a man to establish whether he indeed sired a given baby.  It doesn’t help that many women who are now having multiple partners tend to compartmentalize them, a situation where handsome (but not-so-well-off) Jack ends up being compartmentalized as the ‘baby daddy’ to sire the babies, and rich (but-not-so-handsome) James ends up being compartmentalized as the ‘baby daddy’ to provide for the babies, a situation which is obviously unfair to James, who will almost inevitably ask for a paternity tests once he suspects  that he is being used in such a way.

The second change it the technology used to conduct the paternity tests has advanced over the last two decades as well. A huge milestone in paternity testing was the adoption and popularization of DNA based paternity testing in the mid to late 80s, and which gave the paternity tests a level of accuracy previously unimaginable. Before DNA based paternity testing become an accessible possibility, people mostly had to make do with blood type tests, which were eliminatory rather than confirmatory tests. That is to say, such blood type tests would only eliminate the chances that a given man had sired a given child, but always left the possibility that the child could still have been sired by another man with a similar blood group to the man in question. DNA based paternity tests on the other hand are not only eliminatory, but also confirmatory.

With the change to DNA Paternity testing the manner of collecting the samples have changed.  Paternity testing has become more convenient (and generally less painful) over the last two decades. In the days when paternity testing was based on blood group typing, both the father and the child had to go to a medical laboratory, have blood drawn (obviously through a painful needle prick) and then wait for results – which, would only be eliminatory. With the advent and advancement of  DNA technology however, paternity testing has become rather convenient – the only ‘intrusive’ part of the test often being a painless swab in the inner cheek to draw the DNA sample, which can be even send by mail to the testing laboratory.

The last change and one of the most benifical to possible parents is that, Paternity testing is becoming cheaper and cheaper by the day. When DNA based paternity testing began, many men who were interested in establishing the paternity of their children, (or children who were themselves interested in establishing their paternity) were often put off by the high costs involved. At that time, the production of most of the kits used for the process were controled by companies that had done initial research in the field of DNA testing and therefore gotten themselves patents. As these patents expire however, more and more companies are venturing into the production of these kits, thereby increasing competition in their production and lowering prices for the users of the technology. Ultimately, this translates into falling prices for paternity tests. 

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2 Responses to “The Changing Face Of Paternity Testing”

  1. Aren says:

    Good site, I’m pleased I found it although, ill be checking back quickly to find out what other articles you have.

  2. Bret Steidl says:

    We appreciate you the recommendation! I will try it out.

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