In most stable relationships, paternity is a rare issue. However, it has been observed that some children have the wrong man identified as their father. It is easy to identify a child’s mother; this is not always the case for the father.
Only scientific testing can confirm paternity, which means ‘DNA’ testing.
Children born out of wedlock and mothers seeking for child alimony have led to more and more fathers to request scientific proof of parentage. For some mothers DNA tests came as a blessing in disguise while for some it just back fired.
The records compiled with the forensic unit of the national referral hospital (JDWNRH) for the period of seven years from 2006 recorded a total of 56 such cases.
In it 26 cases tested positive while 19 cases were negative and 11 cases still remain pending.
Last year, the unit received 13 cases for DNA test followed by 12 cases in 2009 and 11 cases this year till date. Only one case was received in 2006, three in 2008 and six in 2010.
Samples collected for the DNA testing are sent to Sri Lanka.
Doctor Pakila Drukpa, Specialist, Forensic Medicine, at JDWNRH said: “The number of putative father can be in 100s also but the DNA testing can easily confirm the biological father of the child. The DNA result is 100% authentic. The mother may genuinely not know who the father is out of a succession of partners but through DNA, paternity of the father can be confirmed, if DNA test is done on those with whom she slept.”
Citing an example he said, once there was four suspected father for a child however the DNA test confirmed the biological father for the child.
Compared to the past, DNA testing has become much faster, it used to take about six to seven months to get the result but now it just takes two months.
Paternity tests which are required to stand as evidence in court will have to be carried out following specific court directions and based on the order received from the court DNA testing is conducted.
The cost of the DNA test is borne by the person who asks for it.
For a person to have a DNA test done, he has to bear, USD 315 including the TT and the postal charges.
Explaining about the DNA procedure, Doctor Pakila said that blood sample from the mother, father, and the child is taken.
In front of them, the packaging is done; sealed and individual packets are handed over to them to post.
The recent rape case of the 17 year old minor in the Thimphu district court waits for the DNA test which will confirm the paternity of the two twin daughters born.
The 73-year old suspected father had demanded for the DNA test and the samples were sent on 31 July.
People are now becoming more confident with DNA tests and more aware of the power of DNA testing and hence there has been an increase in the number.