Whose Your Daddy? Many Americans Uncertain - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Who's Your Daddy? Many Americans Uncertain

MSNBC.COM - The company that made its name peddling drugstore paternity tests to uncertain spouses and skeptical kin now says that more than 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. has had reason to ask the question: Who's your daddy?

Twelve percent of men and 10 percent of women say they personally have been in a situation where paternity testing was "appropriate," according to a recent survey of 1,039 people conducted for Identigene, the Utah firm that markets direct-to-consumer DNA tests.

In addition, nearly 1 in 5 of those randomly surveyed said they have family members or close friends who've questioned paternity.

"There are a lot of situations where you can envision needing a paternity test," said Steven Smith, president of Identigene, which has sold more than half a million kits for $29.99 a pop since 2008. "Somebody's going through a divorce, child custody. Those things do come up."

The survey, conducted late last year by the Los Angeles firm Inspire Research, is renewing debate about the touchy subject of confirming whether a child's reported father is the real thing.

Smith said it proves there's an unmet need for cheap, simple tests to solve crucial genetic questions.

But scientists who've studied what they call "misidentified paternity" say the actual proportion of faux fathers is much lower than the new survey would seem to indicate.

The population-based rate is probably closer to between 1 percent and 4 percent in western countries, with U.S. rates hovering between 2 percent and 4 percent, twice as high as Europe, said Michael Gilding, a professor of sociology at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research in Melbourne, Australia. He has spent years researching the issue.

"It is higher in the U.S. because there are more exnuptial births, less informal cohabitation and more divorce," he wrote in an e-mail to msnbc.com.

(In other words, the U.S. has more babies born outside marriage and more couples living together.)

Whatever the actual rate, those who've used the tests say the results can be life-changing. click here to read the full story

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