Paternity doubts make DNA testing big business in Gujarat
There has been a mushrooming of centres for collection of DNAs across Gujarat, as the number of parents seeking proof of paternity is increasing.Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 01:17 IST
Naran Vasoya was driven to desperation by a nagging suspicion that he had nursed for decades. Suspicious of his wife’s fidelity and the parentage of his 33-year-old son Dipesh, he finally hired two assassins for Rs 5 lakhs last month to kill his son.
His arrest on June 26 by the Rajkot police for the inexplicable crime sent shock waves across Gujarat. But experts say that though extreme, his angst over his child’s lineage was not entirely uncommon. Many parents in the state, silently battling such similar anguish, are now approaching laboratories for paternity checks of their children.
The upshot has been a mushrooming of centres for collection of DNAs across the state. By rough estimates, some 100-odd such centres have sprung up in Gujarat in the last four years. Many local pathological centres are also extending similar facilities, collecting DNAs for testing in laboratories located in cities outside the state.
“The ever increasing demand for DNA testing has forced us to open new sample collection centres in Gujarat,” says Ravi Kiran of DNA Labs India, which has 22 collection centres in the state. Its laboratory is in Hyderabad.
“With increasing awareness and availability of technology at the doorsteps, the number of paternity test cases has almost doubled in the past two years,” points out an employee of a private collection centre. “Men from remote Saurashtra areas to backward regions of north Gujarat have also started approaching us,” he says.
A part of the business is driven obviously by men like Vasoya who doubted his wife’s character. But a majority of the clientele is primarily couples who have got children through in-vitro fertilisation treatment (IVF) at private fertility clinics involving the procedure of manually combining an egg and sperm and then transferring the embryo to the uterus.
Akash and Rekha, a couple in mid-thirties, is one of them. After several years as a childless couple, they had gone to a fertility clinic and were ultimately blessed with a child. Yet, they had doubts that perhaps, the doctor had manipulated the process and the sperm or egg came from third parties.
They wanted their doubts to be laid to rest forever and went to a DNA collection centre. DNAs are tested for other medical purposes as well, including for determining breast and ovarian cancer. But all that Akash and Rekha wanted was to check their child’s pedigree.
“We were happy. The doubt that we might have been cheated by the clinic was stinging. A DNA test finally gave us peace,” insists Aakash.
More such couples are opting for the same. “Every month we get around 10 cases of parental testing. Out of which, 85% cases have babies through fertility clinics,” explains Kiran of DNA Labs. “People who have spent almost Rs 5 lakh to become parent are more than willing to spend around Rs 13,000 more to get peace of mind,” he adds.
The doubts that the couples nurture are not entirely misplaced. Some paternity tests of IVF children have pointed to wrongdoings by the fertility clinics.
Gujarat has a state-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar. However, the FSL accepts cases only recommended by the police or courts, points out its director, J M Vyas. Private laboratories have no such constraints and have therefore emerged as the preferred choice for parents seeking to bury their doubts.