“… a record number of men are finding they are not the fathers of children they believed to be theirs.”

Now, there are statistics and then there are statistics.

Almost a quarter of paternity tests conducted by one of Australia’s largest DNA laboratory companies show the man submitting a sample is not the father, compared to an estimated one in 10 “exclusions” 10 years ago.

Besides being just plain kind of funny, it’s an intrinsically interesting statistic. Specifically:

The number of tests taken in Australia has doubled from 3000 in 2003 to more than 6000 last year.

Thousands of men are turning to DIY testing kits – available online – to discover whether they are the biological father while they are still in a relationship and without telling their partners about their suspicions.

There is a selection problem. I would suggest that a record number of men are making the effort to find out whether or not they are the father of the children pom-tiddley-pom. By making the test cheaper and more easily accessed, the testing company (DNA Bio Services) is allowing the testing to reach further down the spectrum of doubtful fathers – previously it sounds like the tests were directed by fathers hoping to avoid paternity, which is a lower proportion of exclusiong, prima facie.

Managing director Gary Miller said: “The increase is across all social classes and ages – it affects everyone.

“Before, a lot of the work was for men who had been contacted by a woman or the CSA for maintenance and wanted a test to prove they weren’t the father.

“Now we see a lot of men in a relationship or just out of one who are just looking for reassurance that they are the father and then find out they’re not and are completely devastated.”

I can’t honestly imagine 22.22% of Australian children are being raised or otherwise supported by the wrong father. Although it would still be funny.

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