Germany bans secret paternity tests, sets fine

Germany bans secret paternity tests, sets fineBerlin  - German legislators banned secret paternity tests Friday, setting a fine of up to 5,000 euros (6,500 dollars) for men who swab a baby's saliva and send it for DNA testing without telling the mother.

The new offence is part of a new statute on genetic tests which has been 10 years in the making because many of the ethical issues are so controversial.

The legislation adopted by the Bundestag lower chamber of parliament also bans testing of embryos to discover their sex or physical characteristics. The legislation does permit prenatal testing for medical purposes.

The paternity-tests provision was among the most controversial, with critics charging that it denied fathers a conflict-free opportunity to check that children are their own offspring. But legislators said the new rule protected the child's interests.

Simple DNA tests can be obtained nowadays by mail order from some laboratories, with customers using a swab to scrape cells from the inside surface the cheek and send the sample in for testing.(dpa)

Political Reviews: