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Many now using home DNA tests to determine paternity

Many New Orleans parents are increasingly using home DNA tests sold in drugstores to determine or verify the true paternity of children. One company which markets such over -the-counter test kits indicates that its research shows that over 10 percent of all U.S. adults have had questions about the paternity of a child in their family.

A survey that they conducted showed that about 12 percent of all male respondents and 10 percent of all females have encountered circumstances leading them to believe that paternity testing was needed. The survey was administered to over 1,000 people.

Approximately 20 percent of respondents overall said that either close friends or family members had questioned the paternity of a child. Issues of paternity can be important in divorce proceedings and in battles over child custody and support.

Definitive establishment of paternity is also important to aid children in knowing their biological parents. Additionally, it is typically vital for medical reasons, such as knowing whether there is a genetic disposition towards a particular disease because of family history. In some extreme situations, knowing who a biological parent is may even be a matter of life or death in terms of finding an acceptable bone marrow or organ donor for a child with a rare blood type.

An additional reason that parents may want to take a paternity test is because there are situations when the incorrect father is listed as a child's father. He will then end up mistakenly paying child support. While the rate of this happening may be as low as 2 to 4 percent, it is still a very real situation that some men face.

Taking a test to determine paternity is not uncommon, and is actually becoming more common as more unmarried adults are having children. When the parents have determined the paternity of a child, support payments and custody arrangements can be made. Establishing legal arrangements in these situations can be very important for the future of the children.

Source: msnbc, "Paternity questions plague 1 in 10, DNA test firm says," JoNel Aleccia, Feb. 7, 2012

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