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to be (reluctantly) thinking that all babies and fathers should be DNA tested at birth

(686 Posts)
Maryz Sat 27-Apr-13 22:21:42

Inspired by another thread, which I'm not going to link to because it would be very, very unfair. And if anyone notices the link, please don't point it out.

I always thought this was ridiculous, suggesting that all babies be DNA tested. But having seen people advising someone to "don't tell him you slept with someone else, he will leave you, it's probably his baby looking at the dates" I am horrified to think that there are children being born all over the place where the mum doesn't think it's important to check whether or not she knows who the father is sad.

If my teenage dd got pregnant (and there was any doubt), I would definitely encourage her to make absolutely sure she was claiming support from the baby's actual father. Not from the man she thought would do best by him/her.

I think if one of my teenage ds(s)' girlfriend(s) got pregnant I would want them to be sure of the paternity before getting involved, emotionally and financially.

I think the whole thing is very sad.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 27-Apr-13 22:48:42

I actually don't think paternity testing would be a good thing for women, full stop. I'm going to think about it some more - but I'll try to explain now. A state intervention in "paternity" ie. compulsory paternity testing at birth means that "women are potentially all untrustworthy" is kind of written into the law. This cannot be a good thing.

I'm also imagining scenarios in relationships where men don't feel confortable bonding with their unborn babies during pregnancy until they've got the results of their birth paternity test - which surely can't be good for fathers.

I'm trying to think whether I believe in "compulsory" testing for anything? I remember the BNP (I think) talking about compulsory HIV testing - when I was at Uni - and that sent chills down me.

It would be, basically, state-sanctioned misogyny.

ShadowStorm Sat 27-Apr-13 22:49:08


Personally, I'd find it insulting to have to have a paternity test done before DH could be named on a DC's birth certificate. It'd be like the state saying that they assume all women sleep around and lie to their partners about it until proven differently.

And there's already the option of paternity testing available for men who feel that they have cause to doubt whether a baby is theirs or not, after all.

Maryz Sat 27-Apr-13 22:49:38

Sorry, make fantastic parents

Yes about the adoption, agent. But it's an example. She was very, very upset about being lied to. As a non-adopted child might be upset to find out at the age of 15 that the man they thought was their biological father actually wasn't.

You only have to watch Jeremy Kyle to see that while it might be rare, it certainly happens sad. And it fucks the kids up big time.

Bruthas - exactly. If it was the norm, and legally required, it would soon be accepted. Now the father has to appear at registration to be on the birth cert, isn't that right? A mother can't just name any man? So if a DNA was required, that could become the norm too.

In Ireland anyway, blood is taken at the heel-prick test, so that could be used for testing, if it became law.

I was just horrified by the number of "keep quiet, he probably won't find out, the baby is probably his" comments on some recent threads sad which is what started me thinking about it.

ProtegeMoi Sat 27-Apr-13 22:50:40

Agent zigzag - DNA tests are performed by mouth swabs, no blood involved and they don't need the mothers DNA, just the fathers and the babies.

Having seen my sister claim maintenance from a man for 3 years and allow him to build a bond with 'their' son only to later find out he wasn't the father I tend to agree but its a really tricky subject and I would be very offended if my children's father had wanted proof.

It's a hard one, shame to let a few bad apples make all women look like they can't be trusted.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 27-Apr-13 22:51:10

Surely that's just putting forward the assumption that the "dad" isn't the "father"? I would be more than mortified if this was even hinted at at the birth of my child. It questions every single woman's morals, and I would be devastated if it was implied that my husband may not be the father of our baby.

I think it's an awful idea.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 27-Apr-13 22:55:44

I'm totally insulted by this. I'm in a committed relationship with my DH. I trust him and he trusts me. Our DS is 5 months old and I would have been grossly offended in the hospital (as would he) to be told that we were to have a DNA test that neither of us wanted on the basis that DH was not the father til proved otherwise

Also, don't you think the NHS is stretched enough as it is without paying for DNA test?!

If people want tests, they can pay for them independantly (they're not that expensive) or go on Jeremy Kyle

BruthasTortoise Sat 27-Apr-13 22:57:32

In my borough inorder to register a child's birth you have to produce a document from the hospital/medical professional which the registrar checks against the information they have received from the hospital. I'm assuming that it's to prevent people registering infants they have illegally adopted or even kidnapped. I don't find that offensive, I don't think for a second the registrar thought my baby wasn't mine, it's just procedure. This could be the same if managed correctly.

Maryz Sat 27-Apr-13 22:57:42

See, if it was legally required that would automatically get rid of the "I don't trust you", "if you trusted me you wouldn't ask", "why don't you think it's yours" etc etc.

If it was a straightforward legal requirement that every person should be categorically proved to be the biological parent before they could be named on the birth cert, it would simplify things.

And it is nothing to do with the fact that men who aren't biologically related can't be good dads. Two of my children are adopted, and I would challenge anyone who suggested he wasn't their real dad (as I am their real mum - just not their biological mother). That isn't the point.

It's bringing children into the world and letting them believe that a certain person is their biological father when he might not be.

interalia Sat 27-Apr-13 22:59:08

I also read that 1 in 10 statistic. How can that statistic be calculated though? To be able to do so would mean that all the men who aren't the father of the child they think is theirs would have to have found out this fact (if you follow), and then been recorded in this survey. How can that work?

Just thinking about whether this would be legally possible - do parents have to consent to medical procedures undergone by their children? I know that if a medical procedure is performed on someone without consent then that is assault - not sure how that works for children, whether the parents have to consent.

Fakebook Sat 27-Apr-13 23:00:50

Well I personally wouldn't have a problem with it because I know my children are also my husband's, but I can see a lot of problems being created by this. Abortion rates would probably increase, illegal abortions would increase, women who have been unfaithful would live in fear of their partners/husbands finding out. It could cause bigger problems in religious families and families from different cultures. I'm thinking honour killings would increase too.

I always bite my tongue when I come across stories of women sleeping with two men around the same time and not knowing who the father is. It's not a mistake that many woman would make and I don't really feel sorry for the women in that predicament, but they don't deserve the above just for making a mistake.

BruthasTortoise Sat 27-Apr-13 23:01:10

The mother would have to consent for her child if she wants the father named on the birth certificate, is how I think it would work. All hypothetical of course.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 27-Apr-13 23:02:03

I don't think the 1 in 10 stat is trustworthy - has anyone looked into it?

Maryz, do you not think that introducing compulsory paternity testing would enshrine the myth that "women are inherently untrustworthy" in law?

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Apr-13 23:02:37

Good post Sabrina.

There is also the temptation for the DNA to be used for other things like insurance (to see whether you have a higher risk for certain illnesses) or what about employers using them? I wouldn't put anything be past being sold looking at how other personal details are bandied about willy nilly these days.

Which means you have to ask who would the DNA information belong to after it was taken? And also what kinds of things will they be able to look for in the future?

I just don't like routine DNA testing full stop (oh r'ly? grin) far too scary shit.

MoonlightandRoses Sat 27-Apr-13 23:03:35

How accurate are DNA tests nowadays? If they are not 100% then doesn't that open another, and potentially just as unjust, can of worms?

ozymandiusking Sat 27-Apr-13 23:03:35

My God, talk about Big Brother! There are various circumstances where it could be disastrous, for DNA testing for proof of parental identity to be carried out. And for you sanctimonious lot, walk a mile in another womans shoes.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Sat 27-Apr-13 23:03:45

It's all a bit Big Brother isn't it?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 27-Apr-13 23:04:23

The father only has to present for registration if the parents are not married. Any child born within a marriage is deemed to be a child of that marriage unless proven otherwise.

So parliament would also have to spend time and resource on changing the law.

It is only a very, very small minority of people who are affected by this presumably you accept that the standard Jeremy Kyle guest is happily not representative of the general UK population?! Therefore, I do not see why a highly expensive system which would cause great offence to the majority should be brought in to deal with the chaotic lifestyle choices of the minority

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Apr-13 23:05:36

Good post at 22.48 I meant, nowt against your post of 23.02 Sabrina which is also a good point grin

MrBloomsBloomers Sat 27-Apr-13 23:06:26

So for the small percentage of people who have multiple possible fathers for their children, the rest of us should go through this DNA process just to make sure? It kind of insinuates that no woman should be trusted because of a few liars. Would it result in men not wanting to bond with the baby during the pregnancy just in case?

I do know which thread you are talking about though and its very sad that people suggest to lie to suit the mum rather than do what's right by the child.

Maryz Sat 27-Apr-13 23:06:50

But Fakebook, I'm looking at it from the child's point of view.

If what you say might happen would happen, then this is a common occurrence, and there are a lot of children being brought up with their parents lying to them about their genetic background.

I don't see "the women would be in trouble" to be a good reason for letting children be given incorrect information. I believe all children (and I include my adopted children in this) should have a right to know their genetic background.

I can't see that it is ever ok to hide the truth from the child sad.

Why would you be insulted Gobbo? If you know your dh is your child's father, why would it be a problem to provide proof? After all, when you register your child you have to provide proof you are his mother (medical records etc). You aren't allowed to register a child with no proof whatsoever.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 27-Apr-13 23:07:29

It doesn't get rid of women not being trusted if it was legally mandated. What it does is shift the distrust from a woman's individual partner to a general distrust if women, as a sex, by the state

This is one of the most outrageous suggestions I have ever read on mumsnet and I've read a few Not even the fucking Taliban go in fir this kind of thing

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Sat 27-Apr-13 23:07:35


And the protestations to the contrary absolutely feed into the bullshit that MRA's come out with.

As I understand it, adopted children now have the right to information about their "real" parents. As do children conceived using donor sperm.

How is this different ?

ShadowStorm Sat 27-Apr-13 23:07:43

Agree with Sabrina.

I think that it would enshrine the myth that "women are inherently untrustworthy" in law.

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Apr-13 23:08:17

It's worse than Big Brother because it'd be 'normal' and in this time/place.

Just think what the STASI would have made of this kind of technology, or Stalins secret police, all that 'legitimately' gathered info at their fingertips, they'd probably say they'd destroy it after a certain time to start with, but that'd soon change.

peeriebear Sat 27-Apr-13 23:08:48

I wouldn't have a problem with it.
How many legal documents are processed just on word alone? They pretty much all require actual proof. If birth certificates required a swab beforehand I wouldn't care a bit.

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