Short fling leads to question of paternity


            Posted on Jan 19,2014        

             Short fling leads to question of paternity.

Q.   I'm a post-Ph.D. student at a Boston-area college. I had an intense three-week relationship with a woman I met online. She said she was taking birth control pills.

Now, she says she's pregnant, that she's going to have the baby, and that I'm the father.   What can I do to determine if I'm the father?

M.B., Waltham


A.   You cannot now know exactly when she got pregnant or, if at that time, you were the only guy with whom she had sexual relations.

After the baby is born, a paternity test can determine if you are the dad.  A paternity test kit can be bought at major pharmacies.  A cotton swab is used to take a sample of saliva from the inside of your cheek and from inside the baby's cheek. Each swab is placed into its own container. You send that to the laboratory.  A month later you'll get the results. 

If, right now, you do nothing, then after the baby is born expect the mother to file court case to have you adjudicated as the father and for an order that you pay child support and other expenses. The court requires a paternity test which you pay for.

But, if the test result shows you are not the dad, that fee is refunded.  Another approach that may be considered sneaky is not confrontational. You tell the woman you want to be an important part of the child's life, to go with her to birthing class, and be present when the child is born. But do not agree to get married or to put your name on the birth certificate!

After the baby is born, buy that paternity test kit. Then one day, while you are watching the baby and the mother has gone out shopping or while you take the baby for a walk in a stroller, you take a swab from inside the baby's mouth. Later, you also swab the inside of your mouth and send both swabs to the laboratory.

If the test comes back positive, you never mention the test and continue to be a caring dad.  If the test shows you are not the dad, you give the mother a copy of the test results.  

In either event, for obvious reasons, you must get yourself tested to determine if you   contracted any sexually transmitted diseases.  

In other words: Trust. But verify. Last, aren't Ph.D.'s taught to use condoms to avoid both pregnancy and disease?