Health Department Code of Ethics for Paternity Testing
If you’re looking for peace of mind paternity tests, it couldn’t be easier. You can simply order your sample collection kit online, collect the swabs and post them back. Unless you need a test that can be admissible in court, you don’t need to go to a health professional but can conduct the test from the comfort of your own home.
The Ethics Department
However, the Ethics Department has issued guidelines for health professionals when it comes to such tests. Previously, paternity tests involved blood samples so medical professions were more involved in the sample collection process. Now it’s possible to do paternity DNA tests with a mouth swab and kits can be sent direct to the general public. There are concerns that this could lead to unethical use of DNA kits – such as taking swabs without consent. It’s possible for men to conduct these tests without the mother of the child’s consent.
Code of Practice
A Code of Practice issued by the Health Department has laid out the following guidelines for paternity tests:
- Consent is required for all DNA samples
- The views of children should be accounted for before deciding on whether or not to conduct the analysis – if the child is of an age where they are capable of understanding the issues.
- If health professionals are involved in assisting in paternity tests, they must only do so if it’s been shown to be in the best interests of the child.
- If health professionals are issuing or advising on a test, it is imperative that they outline all the possible implications of taking the test.
- Ethically, the mother and the child, if mature enough, should consent to the tests.
However, court orders can override issues of consent. And in general, it’s the courts view that the truth is often in the vast majority of cases, in the child’s best interests.