The story at first might seem all too common. A man undergoes a DNA test to prove his paternity but the test comes back as negative. The mother swears that there must be something wrong with the test because she never cheated. So they do it a second time. The test comes back as negative again. But the mother still insists. So with information and emotions contradicting each other, who should the father believe?
Well, in 99.9999% or more of all cases (corresponding to the accuracy rating of standard DNA testing ) the man should believe the test, as that it is the real scientific proof. But what if you know the mother could not have possibly cheated? And sure, many would doubt that there is ever such a situation where there’s no possibility of cheating, but the explanation may be much simpler than you think.
It all started when a US couple had difficulty conceiving their second child. They made use of an insemination clinic where the man’s sperm was taken to artificially inseminate the mother’s egg. The clinic successfully implanted the embryo. In this scenario, it’s a bit hard to imagine that the mother would have cheated - to put it mildly. And it also explains why the couple was so unwilling to accept the results of the DNA test at its face value. Perhaps the clinic made an error and inverted the embryos in the lab? Such an error is quite unlikely, but there are public cases (with other IVF clinics) where this has happened in the past.
Read more about IVF horrors: In another article, we covered a case where an IVF patient (the mother) fraudulently arranged to have the sperm of the alleged father replaced by that of her ex-boyfriend prior to insemination. This was done to unburden the ex-boyfriend of the cost of artificial insemination.
The couple, understandably, really wanted to know who else could be the biological father in such a situation. Since they had no understanding of how this could even be possible and no other alleged male contributor to consider, they could not do a paternity tests to answer the question. To give them a hint, it was recommended that they do an ancestral origins test if only to provide them with a general idea of what the real father looks like. The test gave them more than they bargained for. The results showed that the biological father, whoever he may be, had the exact same ancestral origins lineage as the client! That is only possible if they were brothers… but the man had no brothers.
The third test that they have done was a DNA test directly from the sperm of the alleged father. Paternity tests are usually done from mouth swabs. But this time they decided to test the sperm as suggested to them by a Stanford University Geneticist. The results came back that the sperm was contaminated by two donors. Eventually the conclusion was reached that the man was a genetic chimera.
This is something that occurs during the foetal development when a single organism is produced by cells from two different zygotes. Essentially, the conception produced two embryos which fused together to form a single baby sharing the cells of each asymmetrically. It was evaluated by the doctors that the majority of the growing areas that the man has, including the testeciles, were formed from his cells, while the rest of his body was formed by the cells of his “brother”. This also meant that his “brother” produced 10% of the sperms present in the alleged father’s ejaculations. 10% does not seem like a very big chance and yet, in this unlikely twist of biology, it was unfortunately one of the cells in the 10% of the “brother’s” contribution to fecund the egg instead of him.
The story serves as a warning that DNA tests should not always be taken at face value, and that participants should be willing to undergo additional testing, such as obtaining a second opinion from an independent laboratory, when there are strong reasons to doubt the results.
Read more about IVF horrors: In another article, we reveal how children born from IVF procedures are often denied immigration in US or Canada because they are unable to prove genetic paternity or maternity through DNA Testing nor prove adoption, the two usually accepted justifications for immigration of minors. The mother a US-born citizen and her two children, both denied immigration is shown above.