Is there such a thing as ‘paternity fraud’?
4th September 2015
Thousands of men in the UK could be unwittingly raising children who are not their own. Should we be making more of an effort to expose ‘paternal discrepancy’, or is keeping quiet the best option, asks Gareth Rubin
Anna Middleton was interviewed by the Telegraph journalist on her experience of dealing with non-paternity whilst working as a genetic counsellor. She had only come across this situation once in 10 years and here she had to inform the man that he was not the father of his children. “That was absolutely devastating information for him. It had to be handled incredibly sensitively,” she says. “It’s something that is thought about very carefully. It’s a piece of information that could destroy a family and it would only be shared if there was no choice, because it was directly relevant [to the medical condition being investigated].”
Ethical issues raised by genetic testing are very familiar to genetic counsellors and clinical geneticists; helping patients navigate their way through such issues is what genetic health professionals are trained to do.