A government decision to disregard fathers’ DNA when identifying the victims of a disaster has raised concerns about paternity fraud in Kenya.

In December an explosion involving a fuel tanker on a road in Naivasha in Kenya left 43 people dead. The National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC) had a challenge to try and identify all of the victims and pathologists were asked to take DNA samples from mothers and siblings to establish the identity of the deceased.

The decision to not use the DNA of fathers as part of the identification process was seen by some as an admission that many children in the country have been raised by men they are not biologically related to.

Nathaniel Kigotho, director of NDOC, asked family members to provide DNA samples from the mothers and siblings of those feared dead or if this was not possible they were told to bring in personal items like toothbrushes or razors.

Johansen Oduor, the government’s chief pathologist, said they preferred to use maternal DNA because there was less chance of error.

He said: “There are special features passed from mother to child that are critical in pathology because they guarantee accuracy.”

Potential risk that fathers may not be biologically related

But some have speculated that the decision was also due to the risk that a man might not be the biological father of the person they believe is their child.

According to The Star, a newspaper in Kenya, more men in the country are now seeking paternity tests to find out for certain whether they are related to their children. Ahmed Kalebi, the CEO of Lancet Kenya Laboratories, said 30 per cent of the men who had taken paternity tests in the last two weeks had found out they weren’t the biological father.

He said: “Ours is to give the results and we don’t know what happens later, but women dispute the results and seek similar tests elsewhere. Some couples even fight in our offices after receiving the results.”

Of course, paternity fraud is not just a problem in Kenya. All over the world, men are bringing up children they believe are their own because the mother was unfaithful around the time of conception or had multiple sexual partners at the time.

Many will never discover the truth, while some may find out they are not related at a later date. Paternity testing can end doubts and suspicions and ensure all parties involved know the truth about their relationship.

AlphaBiolabs offers a range of DNA testing services, including paternity tests. Our legal tests are admissible as evidence in a court of law, while we also offer peace of mind tests for people who just want to find out for themselves whether they are the biological father of a child.

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