What do Thomas Jefferson, Elvis and Kourtney Kardashian have in common? They all have been involved in paternity scandals. Contrary to popular belief, questions surrounding the paternity of a child is nothing new. In fact, the issue has been around for centuries, tracing all the way back to the concept of determining paternity in Roman Laws.
While the actual practice of paternity testing is also not new, it has come a long way since the early explorations of testing. During the turn of the century, doctors performed (largely inconclusive) paternity tests by comparing blood types of the man, woman and child. By the mid-eighties major advancements had been made and medical labs began examining DNA samples, which could determine paternity with greater than 99 percent certainty. Still, tests were expensive, not readily available to the public and had a long turnaround time.
Today, DNA test kits, like the Identigene DNA paternity test, are available at drug stores and supercenters. We also have countless resources and counseling services now available to help those who find themselves in a situation where there is an unplanned pregnancy or questions about paternity. Society is responding to an ever-present need, and people with paternity questions can finally find support through tools like Identigene and national organizations, such as Fatherhood Matters, Inc. or Fathers Incorporated.
Some may criticize these changes in society for contributing to irresponsible sexual behavior. However, by making these resources more accessible, men and women can feel empowered to make more informed and responsible decisions. Advancing the technology of paternity testing gives hope that with better methods available, more people will be open about discussing their paternity questions, take responsibility for their actions and come to a resolution for the health and well-being of everyone involved.
*Article written by Dr. Janet Taylor, IDENTIGENE spokesperson and Community Psychiatrist http://drjanet.tv/