Passport to Paternity: One Man Receives DNA Test, Long-lost Daughter for Father's Day

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In 1992, Michael Skipwith fathered a daughter while stationed at Subic Naval Base in the Philippines. He was transferred from the base one month before her birth and never heard from her mother again. Now, he has found Michelle and has been petitioning for her U.S. citizenship over the past five years, but one last step in the process--a DNA test proving their biological relationship--stood in the way. To celebrate Father's Day, DNA Diagnostics Center paid off Michael's DNA testing fees, just days before his daughter's deadline for immigration was up.

Father's Day for All Fathers

A Mountain View, Calif., man will finally be able to celebrate this Father's Day after a 15-year-long battle to find and secure U.S. citizenship for his long-lost daughter from the Philippines. To celebrate Father's Day, DNA Diagnostics Center paid off Michael's DNA testing fees, just days before his daughter's deadline for immigration was up.

Michael Skipwith knew he had fathered a daughter while stationed at Subic Naval Base in the Philippines in 1992; his child was due to be born in November that year, but in October, Skipwith was transferred from Subic and never heard from the mother of his child again. He spent ten years searching for his daughter Michelle, and another five years petitioning the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service for her citizenship.

The last step in the immigration application process was a DNA test that would prove that Skipwith and Michelle, now 16, are in fact father and daughter--a fact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service requests to be biologically proven through a DNA test before they will approve an application for immigration.

On June 6, Michael Skipwith received a phone call from DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), the Cincinnati, Ohio, area DNA laboratory he initially contacted in April to perform this requested immigration DNA test. DDC had paid off the remaining balance on his case's account as part of their annual "Father's Day for All Fathers" campaign. Skipwith's previous balance was reduced to zero, and DDC further assisted him by immediately forwarding the DNA test results to the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines capital of Manila.         

"I've spent a lot of money in the past five, six years, thousands of dollars I just didn't have," Skipwith says. "I wasn't able to pay for the test all at once. Last week, the U.S. Embassy said if we didn't have the results by the 12th of June, we would have to reapply. Then Jason (from DDC) calls, and he just wanted to forgive the whole balance. He was the greatest luck we've had, because all they (U.S. Immigration Services) were waiting on was the DNA. Now they are ready to issue her the Passport, and she can apply for citizenship."    

DDC does not release DNA test results until the testing fee balance has been paid off, which meant that Skipwith and his daughter's immigration case could not move forward. Based on Skipwith's case history and financial circumstance, as well as the looming June 12 deadline for his daughter's immigration paperwork, DDC decided he was the perfect candidate for their annual "Father's Day for All Fathers" balance relief program that DDC spearheads every June.

"When forgiving balances before Father's Day, we hope to contact those with a great need and Mr. Skipwith certainly fell into that category. His years of determination show his strong desire to provide his daughter the opportunities being an American citizen brings," Client Care Manager Jason Judd said. "It was our pleasure to not only perform the test, but also to ensure he received the results before the deadline."

Skipwith will be reunited with his daughter for the first time this summer. He leaves for a trip to the Philippines on June 27. Michelle will not move to the U.S. with him right away, Skipwith says, but will wait until her academic year in the Philippines is over.            

About DDC
DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC) is the world's largest provider of private paternity tests. Since 1995, DDC has performed hundreds of thousands of genetic tests for clients around the world. DDC offers comprehensive DNA testing services in several specialty areas: family relationship testing, forensics, and veterinary DNA testing.

As the leading force in the private DNA testing industry, DDC was one of the first to adopt robotics technology in its laboratory processes for stringent and efficient handling of DNA samples. DDC's unique DualProcess™ ensures results of unmatched quality and reliability.

DDC's quality DNA testing services are nationally and internationally recognized by a number of professional accrediting organizations such as ACLASS (for ISO/IEC-17025), the AABB, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB-International), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

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Emily Vance
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