New DNA tests that can be done while the woman is still pregant may be the next rage.
Who is the father?
With more than half of births to women under 30 now out of wedlock, it is a question that may arise more often.
Now blood tests are becoming available that can determine paternity as early as the eighth or ninth week of pregnancy, without an invasive procedure that could cause a miscarriage.
Besides relieving anxiety, the test results might allow women to terminate a pregnancy if the preferred man is not the father — or to continue it if he is.
Men who clearly know they are the father might be more willing to support the woman financially and emotionally during the pregnancy, which some studies suggest might lead to healthier babies.
And if the tests gain legal acceptance, some lawyers say, women and state governments might one day pursue child support payments without having to wait until the birth. Under current law, “until and unless the pregnancy produces a child, any costs associated with it are regarded as the woman’s personal problem,” said Shari Motro, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
The testing itself, however, can be awkward because it requires a blood sample from at least one of the possible fathers.
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