Get Your Paternity Questions Answered Now!

by James A. Bacon

I don’t know whether to laugh or weep. I recently heard a radio ad for Identigene, a home paternity testing kit. Apparently, not only are more women bearing children out of wedlock than ever before, they’re so friggin’ promiscuous they don’t even know who the father is!

Hey, I came of age in the late 60s/early 70s during the relatively early stages of the sexual revolution. My contemporaries and I sometimes behaved in ways that our parents didn’t approve of. But at least we had moral standards. (Well, most of us did.) People had multiple sexual partners but they usually had them in serial monogamous relationships that involved a level of emotional commitment, however fleeting. But now, it seems, it is routine for young people to “hook up” in relationships that sever sex from emotional commitment entirely. People have taken to copulating like bonobos — quite often without the benefit of contraception.

Sure, people have cheated on their mates since the dawn of time. Sure, uncertain paternity is not a new issue. But promiscuity was not so prevalent that a company could build a mass market business model around paternity testing!

I love some of the Frequently Asked Questions on the Identigene website:

  • What if the alleged father is not available?
  • Can I add a second child or second alleged father to a paternity test?
  • I have multiple possible fathers but only one has agreed to the dna test. Can I do a paternity test with just one possible father?

And my personal favorite (drumroll)….

  • What if two alleged fathers are related?

Call me an old fogy — having just turned 59, I definitely qualify — but this is a serious sign of moral decay. I’m not saying it’s impossible to raise healthy children outside of a nuclear family — obviously many people manage to do so — but it’s a lot more difficult. Divorce is tough on children. But when parents divorce, most dads stick around to play a meaningful role in their children’s lives. If the parents never marry, dads are less likely to stick around, yet many do. But if the the father’s identity is unknown, he can play no role at all.

I shudder to think how the next generation of Americans will turn out.

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7 responses to “Get Your Paternity Questions Answered Now!”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Reality check. How do you know that WOMEN (as opposed to men) are more promiscuous than ever before? Please state your evidence.

    Hate to tell you this, but the late 60s and early 70s were NOT the “Saturday Night Fever era”. It was the era of Woodstock and country rock. John Travolta did happen until the late 1970s. I know. I went to Woodstock. I Iistened to country rock. The disco movement grew out of the gay movement of the mid-1970s and didn’t hit mainstream until the latter part of that decade.

    Frankly, broad and troubling statements such as these make one wonder where you really were at that time and what you are doing now. Your sense of culture and sexual politics just does not ring true. It also disses women.

  2. Peter, You’re right…. for once. Saturday Night Fever came out in 1977. Bad cultural reference. I’ll remove it from the original post because it adds nothing to the narrative.

    As for “dissing women,” well… I never imply that women are more promiscuous than men. It usually takes two to tango (though occasionally it takes three or more) so it’s pretty much impossible for one gender to be more promiscuous than the other. The reason I focus on women is because (a) women, not men, become pregnant, and (b) women are the ones left wondering who the other parent is. You see, Peter, Identigene is not a “maternity” testing kit. It’s a “paternity” testing kit.

    In no way do I excuse men who father children and then disappear, playing no role in their lives. Of course, many of these guys don’t even know they are fathers in the first place…. That’s the problem I’m trying to highlight.

  3. By the way, Peter, the fact that you went to Woodstock makes you an authority on the sexual mores of…. Woodstock. You’re, like, what… a half year older than me? We both lived through the ’60s and ’70s. Your slice of reality might have been different than mine, but it was no more representative of what was occurring at the time. Indeed, insofar as I was part of the “silent majority,” my experiences may have been representative of a larger slice of the population than yours. So, there!

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I was 16 at Woodstock and was a complete naif. I was so out of touch I didn’t even know there was mass skinny dippy until I saw the movie.

  5. Hello Mr. Bacon,
    I work for Identigene and saw your blog. We thought it would be helpful to provide some information about lifestyle trends in the U.S. that might contribute to the need for affordable and accurate paternity testing in the U.S. First, there is the fact that fewer adults are married. PBS NewHour recently did a piece on this subject. On 12/30/11, their website stated that about 52% of adults are married today vs. 72% in the 1960’s. Also, people are delaying marriage–the average age for first marriage is 26 for women and 28 for men. The CDC provides data regarding the out-of-wedlock birth rate, which stands at a record high of 41%.

    Identigene commissioned a study to find out more about paternity issues. This nationally representive survey found that 1 in 10 Americans have personally been in a situation where a paternity test was appropriate. Additionally, 1 in 5 Americans say that either they or a close friend or family member have been in a situation where they have questioned paternity.

    For years, DNA paternity testing was inconvenient, very expensive and test results took months. Now, a person questioning paternity can purchase a test for under $160 (including lab fee) and have 100% accurate results in 2 business days. We respect your opinion about paternity testing and understand your reservations. We speak only for Identigene, an AABB and LAB-accredited laboratory.

  6. Indentigene, Thanks for the background info. Just to clarify…. I don’t have any reservation at all about paternity testing. I think it’s a good thing. I just lament the behavior that makes it necessary on a mass-market scale.

  7. Poor guy, you traveled god-knows-how-long to get to Woodstock, camped out, got dirty, ate lousy food, went days without a shower… and you missed the skinny dipping? Major bummer.

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