In the news: Over-the-counter paternity tests

Over-the-counter DIY paternity tests go on sale at Britain’s biggest high street chemist chain today amid fears that they will tear ­families apart.

The £30 kit, available from Boots, checks a man’s DNA against a child’s to find out if he is the ­biological father.

Although DIY tests are available in smaller pharmacies, this is the first time that a high street chain has stocked them on its shelves.

Daily Mail 1/2/11

This is just one of those stories that makes you wonder what kind of world we live in. The idea that there would be sufficient demand for a kit for men to use to see if they really are the father of the child their wife (or girlfriend) has presented them with is gut-wrenching enough, but the article goes on to say that: “Dr Mandy Hartley, Anglia DNA’s technical manager, said the tests were ‘peace of mind’ for families trying to ‘move on with their lives’.”

She’s either incredibly naive, or is hoping the public are – the idea that a relationship in which the husband suspects his wife of carrying another man’s baby could be healed by proving him wrong is just bizarre.

The company already processes 3000 tests per year. That’s 3000 families built on a foundation of distrust. And although the test only costs £30 to buy, it is a further £129 to process (ie it’s not like a home pregnancy kit where you are able to find out the results yourself) – so these are just the 3000 better-off families, who can afford a significant financial outlay to feed their suspicions.

The availability of this test probably won’t tear apart any more families which are already slowly crumbling – though it may accelerate the decay, regardless of the test result, all it does is highlight an existing problem – and prompt us to pray for, and do something about, the thousands of hurting people in our nation.

To read the full article, click here.

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