13 Comments

  1. To me I feel like that question getting asked already implies that he’s not the father (because they wouldn’t have tested for it randomly, and somehow it came up, and now the OB-GYN needs to decide what to do with the knowledge). So that’s what joke there is. Both in that by asking the question you give away the answer, and that he took the message that probably should have just gone to her.

    Either that or the “this is like knowing the gender”, and just an attempt to comment on modern sexual norms.

  2. It doesn’t mean they have done the test. Maybe the question was to “upsell” another service they offer “would you be interested in a paternity test?”

    but, yes, to “1”, a variation on the norm.

  3. I was today years old when I learned you can do a pre-natal paternity test. And the cartoon did give me a chortle.

  4. Thinking about it, the real gag is the idea that something could be done that spur-of-the-moment. No one chooses amniocentesis lightly (please don’t correct me if I’m wrong, that’s too terrifying to think about), and the risk/benefit paperwork they give you if you’re pregnant goes into so many details that the idea of an afterthought test is hilarious (then again, I didn’t know until today that they would test for paternity, so shows what I know.)

  5. “Is this just a variation on “Do we want to know the baby’s gender?””

    Yes, that is entirely what it is. The idea that adultry and paternity disputes can be as casual, routine and blase as knowing the gender of the child is the joke…. It’s not very funny though.

  6. Heh… When I first read this, I thought it was something along the lines of, “Honey, it’s the personal trainer. Do we want to know if it’s mine (my personal trainer) or not?”

    And the joke was that, since it’s the ob-gyn, then of course it’s hers and not his! (What kind of man would have his own ob-gyn??)

    After reading some of the comments, I re-read the caption, and now I know what Bill was getting at.

  7. DNA-testing firms are learning that as many as one in 25 fathers are not the real father.

    A 23-and-me test kit may seem like a nice Christmas present, but some people have learned surprising things.

  8. Prenatal paternity testing could be something other than amniocentesis. Fetal cells enter the maternal bloodstream. I don’t know if such a test actually exists, though.

  9. I agree with m5rammy: I don’t think the doctor was calling to report anything, he (or she) was just asking whether or not to add an additional analysis for a sample that has already been taken. Even determining “gender” is an optional extra, the primary purpose of the test is normally just to diagnose “trisomy 21”, commonly called “Down’s syndrome”.
    P.S. I also (emphatically) agree with Christine: the information provided in the “informed consent” lecture was scary enough, but waiting two weeks for the results is excruciatingly nerve wracking. Thankfully, everything turned out fine, and since we live in a country with a civilized healthcare system, we were also not confronted with the problem of having to pay for it.

  10. I’d object to your healthcare jab more if I was sure that amnio wasn’t covered here. We weren’t high-risk enough to bother with having to do the genetic testing, so I’m not sure. I guess (The midwife assured me that anything like trisomy 21 which might affect our birth plans would show up in the ultrasounds, so we didn’t bother with that.) Google tells me that it is covered but only under certain circumstances, so we would have had to pay if we wanted it.

  11. @ Christine – The object of the jab was the general availability (and affordability) of healthcare plans, rather than coverage for a specific test. Amnio isn’t automatically covered in Germany either (and certainly not as an elective procedure just to determine gender), but it is covered if the ob-gyn decides that it is advisable, especially if there are known risk factors involved.

  12. There is a special ultrasound to check for trisomy 21 which is highly accurate when performed by a specialised, experienced doctor. I don’t remember whether we had to pay for this (in Germany). This method only works in a narrow time window pretty early on, so you must know the approximate date of conception. Amniocentesis is 100 % accurate, but the risk of losing the baby is very real.
    Probably the method Carl Fink suggested, genetic testing of the fetus from a maternal blood sample, has supplanted both these methods nowadays.
    Anyway, concerning the cartoon, I think the ob-gyn is suggesting a test, not the disclosure of a result.

  13. One time this might make sense –

    If there is a problem with husband’s sperm, but it still might work, one can have the husband’s sperm and donation sperm mixed for artificial insemination. But since the purpose of that practice is so that there is always a possibility that the father is the actual father, to have a test to see if he is makes no sense.

    Okay, there is one other time, but that one is not funny.

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