Recent reports from AlphaBiolabs, a leading home DNA kit manufacturer, reveal that as many as 20% of all men who take the test will discover they are not in fact the father of the child they are testing.
Syracuse, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/08/2019 --This remarkable statistic raises serious questions for many would-be dads and concerned fathers alike. Reports suggest that as many as 30,000 tests are taken each year, and in some areas of the U.S., namely the northeast, as many as 30% of men discover they are not the father of the child they are testing.
In the U.K., there are presently no restrictions on how tests are carried out. A presumed father can even take a cheek swab while the child sleeps. Of course, in the U.S. this raises serious questions about ethics and the child's rights. Nevertheless, in most parts of the U.S., a father can purchase a home DNA test online for less than $20, swab his own cheek and that of his presumed child, then place the swabs in the mail to get a result. Within a few short weeks, an envelope will arrive telling the father the news. This can be a deeply emotional finding, and with DIY home kits, there's a margin of error involved. In fact, most test kits expressly state that they are not admissible in court. They are for "peace of mind" only. But to a father who finds out that a 10-year-old he has raised from birth is not really his own, this can be beyond devastating.
People often use home DNA kits as a way to potentially avoid child support. Syracuse family law attorney Richard J. Bombardo cautions that this may not be as easy as it seems. As he explains, "a man who raises a child as his own, has his name on the birth certificate, and has developed a long and significant relationship with the child may still be required to continue paying support regardless of DNA results. After all, family court judges are primarily concerned about what is best for the child, and fatherhood is far more than biology."
In many cases, paternity ends up being determined as a matter of equity, not mere DNA results. For fathers who wish to avoid paying child support for a non-biological child, Bombardo recommends "acting fast and getting a firm determination from a court as early as possible, before there is a chance of the child developing a strong relationship."
As home DNA testing continues to grow in popularity, it's likely that family courts throughout the country will continue dealing with delayed or late paternity challenges by men who have discovered that their children are not biologically theirs. It's a growing dilemma, but one the courts will certainly have to address eventually.