What will you do if you suddenly discover that your beautiful son who has just started mouthing the word mama, is not yours after all? Did I hear you say…but that is impossible, how can a mother not know her child. We have heard of paternity suits but, maternity suits? I remember my mother used to react to her children’s awkward or strange behavior with the cliché “I am sure these children must have been unknowingly switched at Massey Children’s hospital” – the foremost children’s hospital in her city at the time. I always shrugged it off as a joke, but wait a minute, can it happen? Please read on as I share a post recently forwarded by one of my readers.

How can a husband be genotype AA, wife AS, and the baby is SS? Paternity fraud looming?

3 months after they had their first child, Morin and Deji found out their daughter – Tanti had her first sickle cell crisis, and the hospital evaluated her as having the SS genotype.

At first, it appeared like a joke, an awfully bad one at that. Medically, that is not or should not be possible. They conducted the genotype test in four medical laboratories, and the results came out the same – SS. Deji became very suspicious about the paternity of the baby and ordered a DNA test which confirmed that he did not father the baby.

Deji confronted Morin with the results demanding that she confess to infidelity and explain who fathered the child. Morin was adamant that she had not indulged in any extramarital relationship and therefore Deji had to be the father of the child. She then had a repeat DNA test done elsewhere in the belief that the earlier result was an error. It affirmed the earlier result as to paternity – Deji was not Tanti’s father, as the father must carry the sickle cell gene.

The once cheerful home now became a nightmare and Morin was distraught as her world was falling apart. She had no explanation for what was happening and all the people around her found it difficult to attest to her fidelity – how else could it have happened?

While in discussion with her childhood friend Becky, a lawyer and social worker, she narrated her ordeal and they both agreed to enter into a prayer of agreement for the spirit of discernment and knowledge from God. About a week into prayers, Becky called Morin and announced excitedly “Friend, it appears I have a plausible explanation. Given that I believe all you have told me, then it is likely that you also are not the mother of that child. Why not embark on a DNA test to determine the maternity of the child”? Immediately, Morin seized the straw that would save her from drowning and had the test done. “Voila” the test result proved that indeed Morin was not Tanti’s mum. How did it happen? The error was traced to the hospital where two baby girls born on the same day had been swapped. The police were invited to investigate the “error” and the hospital was sued for negligence and damages claimed for the trauma occasioned. Deji and Morin were also able to trace the parents who had been wrongly assigned their baby and after a series of tests by all involved, they retrieved their precious bundle whose genotype turned out to be AS.

There is a Happy ending to the story …true, but what if the child had been AS or AA rather than SS would the error have been discovered?

What of the damage done to Deji and Morin’s relationship? Will Morin get over the distrust displayed by her husband?

Was it a case of carelessness or negligence or a deliberate act of mischief on the part of the medical personnel whereby they were financially induced to switch babies for a fee?

Havilah welcomes suggestions and comments on how such “errors” can be averted by intending parents.




  1. Baby swaps happen. I read somewhere of a nurse in a particular hospital who swapped babies as a joke because she was bored. And she worked in the hospital for years. The statistics of parents with someone else children is saddening.


  2. Baby swapping. is really. I remembered when I relieved my first child
    ..My Mum told me not to sleep at mid night , so that I can watching my baby over night. I do take away her from the baby cot and place her beside me and cover her with my wrapper .We do night vigil together


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