Anybody out there forced to watch a lot of daytime television? Paternity testing seems to be all the rage these days. Shows such as Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and a host of others seem to have found some kind of niche market when it comes to determining just exactly who the father of some child is. Why these folks would put themselves in front of a national audience is beyond my comprehension but the format seems to be gathering steam.

Usually it involves the denial of the “father” and the insistence of the mother that she was true to her “man”. There’s also a lot of name calling along the lines of “You a bitch!” or “You a Ho!” followed by the bleeping out of most of the other enlightening conversation. Sometimes you’ll get the “It don’t even look like me!” school of thought when it comes to denying fatherhood. Most of the times, the man in question is proven to be the father. He readily accepts his responsibility and claims he’s going to be there for his child. The requisite crying and complete emotional breakdown of all parties involved usually follows. Oh well, at least they usually have the common decency to leave the little ones off stage as all of this is going on. Enough about my take on the matter, lets move on to cold hard facts.

How accurate is the test?

Pretty damn accurate! If memory (not experience!) serves me correct and the test is conducted correctly, the number is something like 99.99%. That equates to a 1 in 10,000 chance of error

Will the results hold up in court?

With stats like that, you betcha!

Does mama need to be tested?

Not exactly. Everybody knows where the little darling came from but it’s hard to tell who put it there. A so-called “motherless” test isn’t as accurate and requires a little more digging into the DNA of the father and the child to meet that 99.99% number.

Can the test be done before the baby is born?

Yup, but it’s probably not a good idea. It involves extracting amniotic fluid from the fetus and is significantly more expensive.

"I haven’t seen her in years and probably don’t want to" or "I moved away", does the test have to be done in the same place?

Nah, most DNA testing facilities either have their own labs or have affiliates that span the country.

If that’s the case, how do I know that the right person gave a sample?

Tryin’ to get out of being tested? Well for starters, you can thank the fine folks at Polaroid for taking care of that little glitch. Everyone involved needs to have their photo taken and said photo will accompany your DNA samples throughout the testing process. For additional measures, fingerprints will also be taken of the adults and travel with the sample.

So how do they get my DNA?

Since your DNA is the same throughout your body, it really doesn’t matter. A quick little swab of your cheeks is all it takes these days.

Is the test confidential?

In most cases, yes. Naturally that will depend on how confidential you or the mother or (god forbid!) the authorities decide to keep it.

Okay, I’m the father, what happens next?

First of all, for God’s sakes don’t go on national television and make an ass out of yourself. Step to the plate and do the right thing. Chances are, you, the mom and the baby will all be better off.

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