Do-It-Yourself Paternity Kits Available Soon
Published: September 9, 2005 (Issue # 1103)
Russian men who wonder if they are raising someone else’s child will soon to be able to conduct tests at home on “who the father is.”
If international patterns hold true, they will find the child is not theirs in one out of five cases.
British company DNA Solutions, which will open its first office in Russia in St. Petersburg in about 10 days, is to provide DNA kits to customers so that they do the tests themselves. Marketing manager Daniell Leigh said DNA Solutions is the first company to offer such a service in Russia.
“This will be the first company offering free DNA home testing kits that can be sent to individuals who can collect their own DNA samples from their home along with a relative and return these to us for analysis along with payment,” Leigh said in a telephone interview from London.
The company decided to open its office in Russia after experiencing a large demand from Russian nationals for DNA testing services over the last three years, he said.
The company continuously received such requests and demands for DNA testing kits from Russians in its offices in Finland, Sweden, UK and Germany.
For 5,650 rubles ($200) the test will, in 10 to 15 days, show the relationship between a father and child with an accuracy of 99.9 percent, he said.
Samples will first be sent to DNA Solutions laboratories in Australia or the U.K., but the company is also considering opening a new laboratory in Russia soon, Leigh said.
Parenthood testing has received a a lot of publicity in Europe, including cases featuring celebrities actress Liz Hurley and tennis player Boris Becker. Disgraced British M.P. David Blunkett went to court to get a paternity test to shore up his claims to the child of his lover.
However, U.K. Health Researchers suggest that in the general population only one in 25 dads is raising another man’s child.
The most common reasons for DNA’s parenthood testing are fathers who may have doubts that their child or children don’t look like them, or their wife had an affair or they have heard a rumor that their wife or girlfriend may have had a one-night stand, Leigh said.
“It’s these doubts that begin to grow and many fathers want to make sure they are raising a child that is biologically related to them. Many fathers think that raising a child or children is a very large financial commitment and therefore they do not want to pay for another person’s child,” he said.
However, Russian experts on children’s rights expressed their doubts and even anger at the service DNA Solutions plans to offer.
Marina Levina, head of St. Petersburg charitable foundation Parents Bridge, said the introduction of such an easy procedure could be destructive.
“It is aimed at indulging not very good emotions and desires,” Levina said. “And in most cases it will be directed against women and children.”
The procedure of parenthood DNA testing was introduced in Russia years ago in state clinics, several of which are in St. Petersburg, she said.
The prices for the tests with those clinics are much lower than the ones offered by DNA Solutions, and are about 1,000 rubles ($30), she said.
However, most often the tests are done only if a court orders them. Parents need to check paternity for alimony in case of a divorce, or some other legal reasons. In that case, such testing would be done for free, Levina said.
Boris Altshuler, head of the Moscow-based non-governmental organization Right of the Child, said he considered the service offered by DNA Solutions “immoral.”
“It’s a cruel service,” Altshuler said.
“It is immoral to satisfy such idle curiosity. And this procedure may lead to tragedies for both parents and children. However, people, who offer this service, will make good money on it because human curiosity works like a drug, and people will go for it,” Altshuler said.
“I must also say that genetic relationship is not all that important for happiness. If a child lives in a family he must be loved in any case,” he said.
He said DNA procedures should be performed only in state clinics and not by private companies, which serve commercial interests that may mean they are unreliable.
“I think, such service should be prohibited,” Altshuler said.
For more information see www.dnasolutions.ru