DNA testing is a reliable and accurate and nowadays paternity DNA testing, ancestry and other similar tests can give you invaluable information that you may need to find peace of mind. However, DNA testing does give rise to some basic issues which carry ethical bearing. The article highlights some of the more relevant ones.
Are you raising someone else child DNA testing for paternity?
Paternity DNA testing is one of the most widely sought after tests and various studies show the number of children who are not being raised by their biological father is anywhere between 4-10% in the UK. In Italy, the number of children not being raised by their biological father may be as high as 15%. The cases of divorce have risen as fathers may choose not to continue bringing up a child they may have thought was theirs prior to doing a paternity DNA test. Paternity DNA testing may provide respite for fathers who have been forced to provide alimony payments towards a child without any concrete paternity evidence.
In the case of pre-natal paternity testing, the advantage so to speak, is that father-child paternal bonds are not yet at their strongest and thus, the issue can be nipped in the bud. However, with pre-natal testing, as with an invasive medical procedure, there are certain inherent risks. Before doing a paternity DNA test all interested parties should consider the consequences of the test. Any course of action you choose needs to be based on informed choices as will be provided by paternity test results. Undoubtedly, it remains a necessity to do a paternity test as being plagued by doubt is a highly distressful way to live and is unfair on the individuals going through it.
From a mother’s perspective, paternity DNA testing has brought justice to those father’s that are truly the biological fathers of a child but refuse to take on any parental responsibilities. A DNA test can force them to take on their legal duties towards the child in terms of maintenance costs and perhaps, their moral duties too.
One must not forget that although the issue is between mother and father, one must remember there is a child involved. Ideally, there should be counseling support services for those who find their life has changed after paternity DNA test results.
Relationship DNA testing: are you really relatives?
Again, similarly to a paternity DNA test, a relationship DNA test can tell you that you are not the biological grandparent of your grandchild in a type of relationship test known as a grandparentage DNA test. This test can have even wider implications; if you are not the biological grandparent of your grandchild, this may mean that your son is perhaps not your grandchild’s biological father. You may discover, by doing a sibling’s DNA test, that the person you thought was your full sibling is actually a half sibling and that perhaps, you do not share the same father as you thought. You must consider such implications and how your relationship with your parents and siblings may be affected. However, it is important to go ahead with the relationship DNA test to resolve your festering doubts and move on.
Ancestry DNA testing: are you ethnic origins the ones you thought they were?
Ancestry DNA testing does not normally hold the same moral and psychological significance as other types of DNA tests, such as paternity DNA tests. However, there may be cases in which one discover they do not belong to an ethnic group they thought they did; thus, you may have thought you were afro-American but have no afro-American origins.
Paternity DNA testing, relationship testing, or any other DNA testing has the potential to change our lives. However, we cannot ignore certain issues and in most cases, DNA testing is a necessity. Importantly, everyone needs to consider the effects of post-DNA testing on all involved in the test and how they can deal with any necessary changes in a responsible way and in a way that will mitigate the distress for all those involved as much as possible.