Pre-birth paternity tests

Here's an interesting development. A new type of blood test is becoming available that can determine paternity as early as the eighth or ninth week of pregnancy, without an invasive procedure that could cause a miscarriage. Such a procedure raises the possibilities of the woman terminating the pregnancy if the 'preferred man' is not the father, and of the father contributing financially during the pregnancy.

There are, however, two problems with the new test. Firstly, a blood sample is required from at least one of the fathers, which may prove problematic in many cases. Secondly, the tests have a 'discrepancy rate' — when the presumed father is not the biological father — of anywhere from 0.8 percent to 30 percent, with the median being 3.7 percent.

[Story: The New York Times, via Family Law Prof Blog.]