Often, news about men suffering heartbreaks due to DNA fraud makes headlines and the situation seems to become rampant of late.
It is caused by extramarital or sex outside a romantic relationship popularly known as cheating.
Although it is not an exclusive preserve of women, when a child is born, it is mostly the paternity of the child that is in doubt and not the maternity, unless in some rare circumstances.
Once there is any feeling of doubt about the paternity of a child, it places a huge burden of proof on the woman to convince the society and her husband that he sired the child and not someone else outside the wedlock.
The feeling of doubt alone in itself is a big indictment on the woman’s image already, let alone being established as true.
If it is established through a DNA or confession of the woman herself that her child belongs to another man, then the indictment becomes collateral, affecting both her and the husband.
The woman is seen by society as promiscuous and unworthy of marriage, while on the part of the man, his manhood comes under scrutiny as the society might think that he is not potent enough to impregnate his wife or his sexual prowess is nothing to write home about, hence the woman sought extra satisfaction outside the relationship.
It could also suggest that the man is not discharging his responsibilities such as the upkeep of the family and other needs to the maximum.
What makes it more painful to men is the fact that he would have made some financial and other investments in the child or children and developed a strong bond with them over the years but due to the unexpected circumstance, he would have to start life afresh in some cases.
With all the above-mentioned, DNA fraud is not unavoidable, and here are three ways to avoid its related heartbreaks:
As stated above already, it is not women alone that cheat in relationships but when it comes to avoiding DNA-related issues, the first and best solution lies in the hands of the women. If a woman is faithful to her partner, automatically, there are no issues about the paternity of the children she gives birth to. Even if there are, a DNA test result will most likely vindicate her.
Ideally, both men and women must be faithful to each other in a relationship but to avoid DNA issues, a greater responsibility lies on women to firstly protect their image, secondly to avoid the paternity of their children being questioned which affects the kids too psychologically and subjects them to stigmatization, and thirdly to save their partners from the trauma and psychological distress they have to suffer when the bitter reality comes to light.
For emphasis, this article does not seek to suggest that men are at liberty to engage in adultery with impunity while women must be faithful. The point is that, like it or not, we live in a patriarchal society where men have little reputation damage to suffer if it is even established that they have children out of the wedlock.
But for a woman, the fact that she carried a pregnancy for mostly nine months and gave birth to a child is not enough proof that her partner is the father of that child.
She should count herself blessed if her partner has no reason to doubt the paternity of her children, once he does, even before a DNA test result comes out to her rescue, she would have suffered a huge image deficit. It is imaginably a traumatic situation for a woman which is compounded if unfortunately, the DNA result goes against her.
It is for these and many other reasons that faithfulness of a woman is key in every relationship if DNA-related issues are to be avoided.
2. Separation or divorce
Prevention is said to be better than cure. Just as a woman is entitled to the choice of staying in or leaving her marriage or relationship when she detects her partner’s infidelity, once a man has every reason to believe that his wife or partner is not faithful to him, and she takes delight in cheating on him, it is wiser to separate than wait until children come in.
Yes, the infidelity may be surreptitious but once detected, if all efforts to address it have proven futile, then it depends on the couple to decide whether to go their separate ways or continue with the relationship.
Whatever option they choose, it might be helpful to get DNA tests conducted on children they may have had already, just to be sure they are both on the same page.
Meanwhile, the earlier the separation the better the chances of the man avoiding taking care of and bonding with children who are not his.
The trauma that comes with the reality is sometimes unbearable not only for the couple but their innocent children too.
They suddenly have to be separated from a man they’ve seen as their father all their lives only to be made to live with a new person who they now have to accept and adapt to as their actual father.
Aside from that, they are stigmatized and bullied by their peers among other things.
It is instructive to indicate that the choice to separate is not exclusively reserved for the man only; once a woman feels strongly that she is no more interested in the man she is currently with or she is not getting her desires from him, it is advisable to end the relationship honourably and move on into another one rather than being with him while getting satisfaction from outside.
The consequence is that she would end up creating emotional, psychological and reputational complications for herself, her partner and their innocent children.
3. Prenatal DNA test
DNA paternity testing is the use of DNA profiles to determine whether an individual is the biological parent of another individual. Paternity testing can be especially important when the rights and duties of the father are in issue and a child's paternity is in doubt.
Although this may not help avoid heartbreak completely, it minimises the risk by informing you earlier about what's at stake rather than you being in the dark for years.
DNA testing is currently the most advanced and accurate technology to determine parentage. In a DNA paternity test, the result (called the 'probability of parentage) is 0% when the alleged parent is not biologically related to the child, and the probability of parentage is typically 99.99% when the alleged parent is biologically related to the child.
However, while almost all individuals have a single and distinct set of genes, rare individuals, known as "chimeras", have at least two different sets of genes, which can result in a false negative result if their reproductive tissue has a different genetic make-up from the tissue sampled for the test.
Paternity testing can now also be performed while the woman is still pregnant from a blood draw.
There are two methods of doing prenatal paternity testing for an unborn child.
Invasive prenatal paternity testing
It is possible to determine who the biological father of the fetus is while the woman is still pregnant through procedures called chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis.
Chorionic villus sampling retrieves placental tissue in either a transcervical or transabdominal manner. Amniocentesis retrieves amniotic fluid by inserting a needle through the pregnant mother's abdominal wall.
These procedures are highly accurate because they are taking a sample directly from the fetus; however, there is a small risk for the woman to miscarry and lose the pregnancy as a result. Both CVS and Amnio require the pregnant woman to visit a genetic specialist known as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who will perform the procedure.
Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing
Advances in genetic testing have led to the ability to identify the biological father while the woman is still pregnant. There is a small amount of fetal DNA (cffDNA) present in the mother's blood during pregnancy.
This allows for accurate fetal DNA paternity testing during pregnancy from a blood draw with no risk of miscarriage.
Studies have shown that cffDNA can first be observed as early as 7 weeks’ gestation, and the amount of cffDNA increases as the pregnancy progresses.
Well, there you have them, with the above three ways, couples are more likely to avoid DNA-related heartbreaks and shame that are not exclusive to them but also affect their innocent children too.