You are not the father!
DNA tests show rise in 'jackets'; low sperm count among Jamaican men
Dr Andre McDonald (Photo: Philp Lemonte)

DR Andre McDonald, medical doctor and chief executive officer of SureTime Emergency Medical Services, says he has had testing surprises in his facility, with low sperm count in men, and a rise in the presentation of men being proven not to be the fathers of children they are tested for.

At the same time, he said infertility is on the rise in Jamaica, and this is evenly divided among male and females at 40 per cent each.

SureTime Emergency Medical Services provides DNA testing services. Dr McDonald was speaking at the first of the two-day Jamaica Health and Wellness Tourism Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Thursday.

"The sperm count of men in Jamaica is dropping significantly. And so, on presentation, even though it is still 40:40 in terms of percentage contributing to infertility, [the other] 20 per cent we just don't know what is happening," Dr McDonald said.

He added that over 70 per cent of the findings of paternity tests conducted at SureTime reveal that the men who were named as fathers for children are not the actual fathers.

Dr McDonald said the findings at SureTime are expected to be higher than for instance the US Embassy, where the results have been listed at 30 per cent, against his facility's 70 per cent.

DNA testing is used for some immigrant visa applications, and this is how a leaked 2009 diplomatic cable showed that one in every 10 men who turned up at the United States Embassy in Jamaica found out that the children they were filing for weren't theirs.

The diplomatic cable also suggested that the percentage of men filing for their children and finding out they were victims of fraud could have been higher, if some applicants had not abandoned the paternity process midstream.

"I guess persons who come to us, unlike the US Embassy, they have a doubt, so we expect our figures to be higher. SureTime figures show that seven out of every 10 fathers are not the father," Dr McDonald said.

He added that at times he finds it difficult to reveal paternity results to men who seek DNA tests.

"I've seen fathers who have reared four children, the oldest of whom is 18, getting ready to go off to university, and at that point he realised when we did a semen analysis on him that he has zero sperm," Dr McDonald said.

Meanwhile, he added that his findings also show that four out of every 10 men tested are infertile, but only a ratio of one man to 22 women seek medical attention.

It is more common for men with erectile dysfunction issues to visit the doctor, than for fertility issues, he said.

"This [erectile dysfunction] is the only issue that brings the typical Jamaican man to the medical doctor. Sad thing..."

"We looked at how men compared to women and we looked at the same comparison to a study that was done at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and we saw that for every one man who visits the doctor, 22 women visit. The study at KPH said it was 20 to one. Now the question is what is happening to the men and why are they not going to the doctor? What is happening to the Jamaican men?" he questioned.

For her part, fellow speaker Dr Saphire Longmore, a consultant psychiatrist, was quick to point out that the SureTime study didn't reflect what was happening nationwide.

"I just have to chime in here with the clarity — the narrative with the seven out of 10, let us underscore that these are the ones who go to get tested. So it is the ones who question paternity. This is not across the board," Dr Longmore said.

"It [SureTime finding] is similar to the Carigen finding, so if you have 10 babies being born, six fathers are sure and accept that it's their child. The four who question it, out of that four, you find [the high percentage] that is not theirs. Just to underscore that it is the power of intuition, it is the power of your gut feeling which we should never lose sight of."

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