Genetic test may offer revelation


DEAR ABBY: My heart is pounding and Im at my wits end. This situation is difficult to explain. Im afraid that other readers may be facing the same horror that Im dealing with, so please advise us on how to handle an extremely delicate situation.

My husband has it in his head to do genetic testing for genealogy purposes. It isnt cheap. One of the places he wants testing from charges a couple of hundred dollars. He has asked me to have it done, too. I told him I wasnt interested and I thought it was too expensive.

Now he wants to have our 17-year-old son tested. I have argued that our son should not have his DNA on record anywhere, that he really needs both parents to give consent for testing, and it costs too much.

The horror I really have is that, 18 years ago, I made an awful mistake. I dont know if my husband is the father of our son. Im having panic attacks about his finding out how awful I was 18 years ago.

Can you issue advice that these DNA tests should not be used on minor children, and that there are powerful reasons why not? Can you think of any other reasons I can give for not having him tested so I can convince my husband to drop the idea? Please dont reveal where we live. You can say its Minnesota.


DEAR IN A PANIC!: Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. (And no, I didnt coin the phrase.)

Although you have my sympathy, I think it takes a lot of gall to ask me to lie in my column. I cannot come up with a reason why your son should not be tested because there are reasons why everyone should be particularly before having children. (Two of them are Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia.) I have news for you. Your husband already has his suspicions about whether he fathered the boy. Thats why hes determined to have him tested. If I were you, Id take a few deep breaths and come clean before the guano hits the fan and thats the best advice I can offer. Confession is good for the soul.

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