| Can I Test For Paternity Without The Father?
Yes you can, but you still need to obtain a DNA sample from members of the alleged father’s immediate family.
If The Alleged Father Is Dead
If the alleged father is dead, you can ask the coroner or medical examiner's office for a tissue or blood sample from the body to perform a paternity test. A body can also be exhumed to obtain a tissue sample for testing.
If The Alleged Grandparents Are Available For Testing
If this is not possible, or the alleged father is simply not available, the next option is a grandparent DNA test. This is where the parents of the alleged father provide a DNA sample. While it does not ascertain paternity, it does prove the relationship of the child to the grandparents. This is normally evidence enough to be accepted as paternity in most courts. If only one grandparent is available for testing, the results are not likely to be conclusive. A sample of saliva is all that is needed to perform a grandparent test, and the other tests mentioned below.
Testing Other Relations
If neither alleged paternal grandparents are available, other family relations can be tested. A sibling DNA test determines whether two people share one or both biological parents. A half sibship DNA test checks if they share one parent, ideal if the father is in question. A sample of the mother's DNA (of the child in question) will also be needed to exclude her genetic material from the results. While relatively accurate, sibling DNA tests are not always conclusive.
An even more accurate relationship test is the Y chromosome DNA test. But this test is for boys only! It can only check if two men are biologically related through the same father. If they are related, then their Y-STR profile will be practically identical. The Y chromosome is very distinctive and passes from father to son and undergoes very little change in the process. The only slight problem with this test is that it does not prove how the two men being tested are related - they could be brothers, but they could also be father/son, grandfather/grandchild or uncle/nephew. If you are testing an alleged brother's DNA then combining the Y chromosome test with a sibling DNA test will strengthen the overall results.
Where To Now?
While there are several testing options to determine paternity, which one you chose depends on the availability of alleged family members for testing. Also, it depends on whether or not you are doing the test for legal reasons or out of curiosity. The process, degree of testing and cost is slightly different. Most reputable paternity test centers will help work with you in this situation.
• Need more information? See: Paternity Testing
If you are the alleged father:
How do you get a paternity test?
How much does a paternity test cost?
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