Easy Guide To: DNA Tests For Determining Who Is The Father

Paternity Tests


Paternity Testing


Paternity Testing
Why Establish Paternity?
Is Testing During Pregnancy Possible?
Legal Paternity Tests
Paternity Home Tests
What If The Alleged Father Is Dead Or Missing?

Guide To Paternity Testing

Test After Pregnancy
Test During Pregnancy
Test Kits Explained
Research & Statistics

Other Types Of Tests

Genetic Testing
Ancestry DNA Tests
Grandparent DNA Tests
Sibling Tests
Y Chromosome Test
Twin DNA Tests

Paternity Testing

If you became pregnant between relationships, and are not certain who the biological father of your child may be, then a paternity test will tell you. Paternity testing works by checking the DNA of both the child and the father(s) in question. A paternity test can be carried out when a woman is still pregnant (known as prenatal testing) in the first or second trimester of pregnancy (although with associated risks and costs). Most women choose to wait and test after the baby is born (postnatal testing). The most popular type of paternity test after pregnancy is a paternity home test kit. Kits can be ordered over the internet, and cost far less than accredited legal DNA tests. While the results of home testing kits can not be used as evidence in a court of law they are generally still very accurate. The AABB (previously known as the American Association of Blood Banks) estimates that over 414,000 paternity tests taken in the United States last year, and this figure has been steadily rising (see paternity testing research).

Why Establish Paternity?

There are several reasons a woman may consider validating the paternity of her child:

1. If doubt exists, paternity testing should be carried out as soon as possible after birth. Most states require unmarried couples to complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form at the hospital to legally acknowledge the father. The AOP form is then sent to the state’s Bureau of Vital statistics, and whoever is listed as the father becomes the legal father. Ensuring the name is correct can prevent a legal nightmare at a later date. However couples do have a limited time frame which varies from state to state, to request a DNA paternity test and to make amendments if necessary to the AOP. If this is not done, whoever's name is on the AOP could be held legally responsible for the child, even if he is not the biological father.
2. Knowing the paternity of a child can help give a woman peace of mind as eventually the child will want to know who their father is.
3. It helps to establish paternity responsibility - both financially, legally and emotionally.
4. It helps protects the child's legal rights and ensures access to social benefits including social security, veteran benefits and potential inheritance.
5. It helps to establish a child's medical history which is particularly important if there are any genetic disorders or history of birth defects in the paternal family (father's side).

Is Testing During Pregnancy Possible?

Yes, it is possible to have a paternity test while pregnant, although it is more complex and expensive than testing after pregnancy. Prenatal paternity testing needs to be carried out with the help of an OB/GYN or doctor. There are two types of tests: A chorionic villus sampling test (CVS), which can be performed between weeks 10 and 13 of the first trimester of pregnancy and into the second trimester, and an amniocentesis test which can be performed between weeks 14 and 24 of the second trimester. These procedures are not without risk, and should only be considered where time is of importance. More recently less invasive blood tests have become available for testing during pregnancy. However they have not be approved or certified by the AABB.

Court Approved Legal Paternity Tests

A DNA clinic should be able to tell you whether their paternity test is court approved or not (they may advertise it as a legal paternity test). The AABB recommends only using paternity testing centers which have been accredited by them. A legal DNA test is carried out by taking a cheek swab from both the child and father. Clinicians extract and analyze each sample twice to ensure near enough 100 percent accuracy. The clinic will also certify that the samples were taken from the people in question. An accredited legal DNA test can cost between $400 and $2,000 but most centers offer flexible payment plans. Results usually take about 5 working days and are posted out to you.

Paternity Home Tests

If you do not need a result for court, then a paternity test kit should provide accurate enough results to satisfy curiosity. Kits can be bought online or in drugstores for between $180 and $500. Most home tests require a simple cheek swab from both father and child, and sometimes the mother (for increased accuracy). You then mail your sample back to the lab and the DNA results are posted to you usually within 7-14 days.

What If The Alleged Father Is Dead Or Missing?

If the alleged father is dead, if it is still possible, asking the coroner or medical examiner's office for a blood or tissue sample from the body is the best option for accuracy. If this is not possible, grandparent DNA testing is the next best option. This means testing both paternal grandparents DNA. While this does not ascertain paternity, it does prove the relationship of the child to the grandparents. This will usually be accepted as paternity in most courts. Where both or one paternal grandparent is dead, other family relationships can be tested - via for example sibling DNA tests, or Y chromosome DNA tests or a genetic reconstruction. Most reputable paternity test centers will help work with you in this situation.

  Related Articles on PATERNITY TESTING

For more on prenatal tests and guides, see the following:

How accurate is a home paternity test?
Can a paternity test be done without the father?
How much does a paternity test cost?
How do you get a paternity test?

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