updated 3 Nov 2012, 09:13
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Young and pregnant, they want to know who's the daddy
by Benson Ang

MediaCorp actor Terence Cao is not the first man to face baby woes.

It’s not just celebrities who have been embroiled in paternity dramas; others also want paternity tests for various reasons.

Men may want to know if their partners have cheated on them, says one paternity testing company in Singapore.

Or, a woman may want to ascertain who has fathered her child so they can ask the man to marry her.

The Paternity Testing Corporation (PTC), which has been operating from the US since 1996, offers paternity tests for children after they are born, or prenatal paternity tests for fetuses from as early as nine weeks after conception.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper on Sunday, PTC’s Scott Wein explains that those who seek prenatal testing are usually young pregnant women who want to marry the man they believe is the child’s biological father.

The man typically asks for paternity to be proved and that’s when the test comes in.

Mr Wein, PTC’s area manager for Asia, says: “A prenatal paternity test has resulted in many happy marriages, from what could have been a disaster of marrying someone who is not the child’s father.

“Without a test, the men may wish to refuse paternity of the child, causing many young women to look towards abortion since they cannot support the child on their own.”

PTC conducts over 20,000 paternity tests each year, which works out to hundreds of tests a day.

Mr Wein says such tests have brought joy to the lives of their clients on many occasions.

Some instances:

- A woman in Japan had a one-night stand in a club and struggled to raise her daughter on her own for 12 years. The man she had sex with turned out to be a millionaire. When his paternity was proven, he offered to support them and mother and daughter were then financially stable.

- During World War II, two toddlers in Japan were separated from each other and lost their family during the war. When they became adults, both were interviewed by a TV channel. As their memories were so similar, they decided to get a DNA test. The result showed they were actually cousins and did have some living relatives after all.

There are, of course, stories where clients were unhappy with the test results.

Most times, it happens when someone finds out that the child they have been living with and supporting for years is not actually theirs, says Mr Wein.

“But in the end, people still have the right to know if they wish to.

“We always try to tell our clients: This is a life-changing decision.”

Some of the places you can get paternity tests here are the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), or the Singapore arm of private companies which provide such tests, like PTC or easyDNA.

Depending on which organisation you approach, the test requires samples, like inner cheek swabs, which usually contain blood or skin cells.

Each test costs between $520 and $1,000 and results can be obtained after two to four weeks.

PTC opened a Singapore arm – PTC Singapore – over a year ago, and has already conducted more than 110 paternity tests.

EasyDNA Singapore offers ahome DNA paternity test for the testing of an alleged father and one child, according to its website.

This test costs $520 and results will be available in eight to 10 working days, the website says.

HSA also conducts paternity tests through the DNA profiling laboratory biology division of its applied sciences group.

Such a service, which requires blood samples, costs $925 before GST and results will be ready in four weeks, a HSA spokesman told TNPS.

HSA’s test can cover three samples – that of the child, the child’s mother and the father in question.

Clients can also choose for it to cover two samples – that of the child, and the father or mother in question.

All parties must agree before testing. A request and consent form must be submitted to HSA.

The form is available online.

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