On September 22nd, we joined Adoption and ART attorneys in New Orleans at this year’s AAAA/AAARTA/NCFA joint conference. Our presentation addressed issues concerning DNA testing in the law and what the future holds. Questions arose including: What should be done when a client contests a result? How reliable are DNA tests to begin with? Are there better, more robust DNA tests to consider? Can ancestry testing be used reliably in immigration cases?
DNA Testing is Complicated! Vibrant Gene Consulting can help you.
DNA Test Consultations
On-call hourly support is available to partner law firms to answer immediate genetic testing questions. To the untrained eye, any two DNA tests employed in legal cases are equivalent, do not be fooled. Newer technologies can provide cheaper, more robust test results than STR-based tests. To ensure your clients are getting high quality, validated and reliable testing, contact us!
DNA Test Interpretations
Attorney client support services are available for the clients who want to understand their tests. Legal professionals are asked technical questions about DNA test results which lie out of their realm of expertise. Let us unpack these tests for your client, using non-technical terms they can understand.
Cases that require an expert opinion can be solved through Vibrant Gene detective services. Cases invovling gestational surrogates abroad can be quite complicated, and often confusing to legal professionals and their clients. Genetic inconsistencies such as Chimerism arise, yielding conundrums for clients and professionals. Allow us to work with your clients directly, saving you time and heartache.
A Case Example:
Navigating DNA Testing in Surrogacy Complexities
A perplexed immigration attorney contacted Vibrant Gene for information regarding a condition called chimerism (pronounced “kī-ˈmi(ə)r-izəm”; a condition where an individual has more than one complete set of DNA).
The attorney’s client, an American gentleman in his 30s, had pursued a gestational surrogacy service using his sperm and a donor egg. After carefully researching clinics, the client settled on a service located in India. It was affordable for him and had a reputation for a high-quality service.
When the baby was born, legal DNA paternity testing indicated non-paternity. The surrogacy service insisted on no wrongdoing and contended that the baby or the client was a chimera.
The attorney was relieved to be provided with essential information regarding chimerism, Vibrant Gene also examined previous cases in literature and made key recommendations for follow-up testing. The additional DNA tests offered sufficient proof that the client and baby were not blood relatives, and found no evidence of chimerism.
The client pursued international adoption, and the attorney was able to help bring the newborn home.
This intriguing case also led to a publication co-authored by our founder, Kayla Sheets, Dan Berger (immigration attorney), Dr. Michael Baird (CSO of DNA Diagnostics Center) and Meaghan Hall. The publication, “Navigating DNA Testing in Immigration Cases”, serves as a guide for attorneys confronted by unusual DNA test results and is available via AILA and LexisNexis.
-Christiane Northrup, MD OB/Gyn, New York Times bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’ Wisdom
“We are an immigration law firm, and Kayla has been a tremendous resource on understanding DNA testing to prove family relationships. She is able to explain some very complicated issues, such as chimerism, in a way that we and our clients can understand.”
-Dan H. Berger, Partner at Curran & Berger LLP Immigration Law Offices
“Kayla is an outstanding genetic counselor with a high level of clinical and scientific expertise and empathy for her clients. She is a pleasure to work with!”
-Sharon Reid Altmeyer, Founder of GenCipher
“Kayla is always current on new genetic/genomic concepts and research. Anyone working with Kayla will be in good hands.”
-Cassie Buck,Genetic Counselor, Advisor for Genetic Counseling Research at Brandeis University
Another chimera conundrum solved with Vibrant Gene’s services:
How is Your Paternity Testing IQ?
True or False?
1. Paternity testing is always 99.9% accurate.
(False. Genetic inconsistencies such as mutations, mosaicism and chimerism can all lead to false negative results. Other causes include not following best practices for sample collection, or human other errors.)
2. Chimeric individuals always show physical signs of having different sets of DNA.
(False. Only a small subset of chimeric individuals have two different colored eyes, patches of hair or skin tone differences.)
3. The Combined Paternity Index (CPI) is always conclusive, and definitive.
(False. When the test result is not sufficient to exclude an alleged father, some laboratories can provide a residual CPI. This result may help indicate that the true biological father is a blood relative to the tested individual.)Contact us for additional information about how Vibrant Gene consultations can benefit you and your clients.