There are many difficult questions that need to be asked in life, but few are more touchy or impactful than paternity over a child. Unfortunately times have changed since the days of our great-grandparents; people break up more often, are unfaithful, have open relationships and are not as likely to be in a truly monogamous relationship.
As a result, many men find themselves in doubt and asking if they are the true father when their partner gets pregnant. The one obvious solution is to take a paternity test to make sure. It is hard to blame men for even considering this, as raising a child is one of the largest investments made in any person's life, man or woman, so wouldn't everyone want to be 100% sure they are putting their time into a child that is truly theirs? However, this can be a difficult conversation to have with the mother of the child.
Men often wonder how a woman will react to the request for a paternity test. On online forums you can often run into the question "Is it offensive or wrong to ask your significant other for a paternity test?" The overwhelming answer is: It's not wrong, but can be terribly offensive.
Tip: When discussing this with your partner talk about how easy and affordable a DNA test is. Simply starting the conversation may go easier than you expect and may relieve emotional stress about this issue.
Many people online have mentioned that in asking for the test, a man is accusing the woman of cheating. This is simply because, if he didn't have doubts, he would trust the child is his. One person likened it to a woman hiring a private investigator to follow her boyfriend around to see if he is cheating - she just wants proof he hasn't cheated. However, the act of her going out of her way to hire someone, immediately implies a distrust.
On the other hand, some feel that maybe the woman would be completely accepting of the idea if she had nothing to hide. There might be a chance that the woman would understand the man's stance and agree to the test, because she hopes it will solidify the man's role in the child's life. Some might refute this idea, stating that paternity doesn't guarantee the taking on of responsibility. Many men who are scientifically proven to be the father of a child, still end up not fulfilling their role.
If a man opts to avoid the conversation altogether, in fear of damaging the relationship too greatly, there are ways to discretely have paternity tests done. The tests are usually done with swabs, but there are unique ways to get samples, which can be read about here. Test with special samples. This path should be chosen cautiously, as if you think asking for the test might cause a woman to be offended, doing the test without her involvement will surely do so.
If you are a man who wants to ask for a paternity test, try to be as gentle about the subject as possible. Put yourself in your partner's shoes and try to understand how you would feel. Perhaps a helpful aide could be bringing up other tests to your partner (such as DNA tests that look for ancestral origins), which could also be performed while investigating the paternity. Whichever approach you use, prepare yourself to deal with the different reactions that could arise, as well as the results of the test, whatever they may be.