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Paternity: 7 ways of Establishing Who Fathered Your Child

Paternity: 7 ways of Establishing Who Fathered Your Child

In this day and age, paternity disputes and doubts are far from unheard of. There are many statistics about paternity testing and the number of tests carried out although of course, not all are equally reliable.

The American Association of Blood Banks, a reliable source of information when it comes to paternity statistics, gives an estimate of the number of paternity tests carried out in 2003 as being somewhere around 354,000. So, let us take a better look and see 7 different ways in which one can establish whether an alleged father is really the biological father of a child – in some cases paternity can even be established without even testing the alleged father.

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Paternity Testing

Paternity testing is the most reliable and accurate way of determining whether man X is the biological father of a child or perhaps children. Ideally, whatever the scenario, paternity testing involving samples from the alleged father and the child will always be the first recommendation. If the alleged father is willing to be tested and the child too, then all is well and good. DNA samples need to be collected from the putative father and child using mouth swabs. Once the samples are collected, it is time for the laboratories to analyze them to see whether the father and the child really share the same DNA profiles, thereby confirming that the alleged father is the biological father. Unfortunately, there are countless cases where the alleged father is unavailable or unwilling to be tested (or perhaps dead). In such cases, there are other tests which can be carried out. Most online companies will have available an online customer support team. Some of the main ones include EasyDNA, DDC, homeDNAdirect and The Genetic Testing Laboratories.

Testing the Alleged Father’s Possessions

If you are unable to get a DNA sample directly from the alleged father, you might have the chance of using an item belonging to the alleged father which contains his DNA – for example, a pair of glasses, a cigarette end, a used condom, a toothbrush and many other such samples which a laboratory can use to extract the alleged father’s DNA. Obviously, not all samples are the same – some are better than others and provide a higher chance of successful DNA extraction. The age of the sample, type of sample, how it was stored and collected are the main factors must be taken into consideration. The laboratory will be able to give you a full appraisal of your chosen sample once you contact them for the test.

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Whilst taking an item you suspect contains another person’s DNA for a paternity test is legal in most countries, you should be aware of DNA theft laws in some countries such as the UK. In the UK, it is in fact illegal to take any DNA sample belonging to another person with the intention of having it analyzed. You would need the full consent of the person to whom the sample belongs to do the DNA test.

Sibling Testing

When the alleged father cannot, for some reason or other, take part in the paternity test the next best option is to carry out a DNA test between the siblings of the alleged father. There are various types of sibling tests which can tell you whether 2 or more individuals have the same biological dad or different biological fathers.  The following tests can all be used in cases where individuals wish to know if they share the same biological father:

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  • If tested parties are female, they can carry out an X chromosome test
  • If siblings are male, they can carry out a Y chromosome test
  • If siblings are both male and female, they can carry out a full siblings test.

Of course, siblings might not always agree to being tested, especially if they might stand to lose financially.

Aunt/Uncle Testing

Testing the alleged father’s siblings and comparing their DNA to the DNA of the alleged father’s child is another alternative to a DNA paternity test. The result of an aunt/uncle test with their alleged niece or nephew is not, however, always accurate even if they are truly biological relatives. The amount of common genetic material between aunts or uncles with their nieces of nephews is not as much as the father’s. This said, in some cases, it is possible for biological relatives to have barely any common DNA. Conversely, there may be instances where the amount of common DNA exceeds. Depending on the gender of all the people involved in the test, there may be other more accurate tests (such as Y chromosome testing in cases of solely male test participants).

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Grandparents Testing

A DNA test can be carried out to confirm whether the grandparents are related to their grandchild. If results confirm that they are not related then the implications are that the grandchild’s father is not the biological father either. The test is very accurate if both grandparents are available. If only one grandparent is available you might want to consider different testing options, as there is a strong likelihood that you will not have a conclusive answer with this particular test. When both grandparents are available, laboratories can use both their DNA samples to reconstruct the profile of their son (the alleged father). They can then proceed to compare this profile with that of the grandchild to see whether there is a match (indirectly confirming paternity) or a mismatch (indirectly excluding paternity).

Paternity Testing in Pregnancy

It is also possible to establish paternity in pregnancy in what is called a prenatal paternity test. Using a number of methods including amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, and maternal blood samples, scientists can extract the DNA blueprint of the unborn baby. Prenatal paternity testing can be carried out at around 10 weeks but this depends very much on the type sample collection used – for some prenatal paternity tests, the mother might have to wait till her 15th week. It is also worth noting that many prenatal paternity tests also pose certain risks. For example, amniocentesis can result in miscarriage because the sample collection involves inserting a needle into the womb. The needle can sometimes harm the fetus, cause stress and lead to miscarriage. So, please consult your physician before you take this measure.

Featured photo credit: Buzzghana via buzzghana.com

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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