Every child gets 50% of the DNA from each of the parents. So, for that reason the paternity tests are almost 99.999 percent accurate. Now with the advancement of technology paternity tests can be conducted even during pregnancy and before the birth of the child.
Research shows that it can be done as early as 8 weeks of pregnancy. It is about the time that the cells of the fetus flow in the blood stream of the mother. Advanced technology can detect the DNA profile of the fetal cells and conduct a pretty accurate paternity test. (De Jong, 2010)
When to Take Paternity Pregnancy Test?
Before Birth Paternity Tests
Confusion and misunderstanding can hamper any family life. Especially during pregnancy it can be considered as a pretty big risk. That is the reason why it is important for the parents to clear all the cloud of confusion.
Since the fetus starts developing its own cells a paternity test can be conducted during the pregnancy itself. The fetus’s cells are freely floating in the mother’s body. So, if the blood is extracted from that, the modern technology can detect the fetus’s DNA and consequently match it with the probable father. (Wagner, 2009)
Previously DNA based paternity tests would have only been possible after the birth of the child. Then again, the invasive mechanisms were painful and risky. However, the new mechanism of DNA based paternity test is of no risk to the child. It is the mother’s blood which is being collected and from that the child’s DNA pattern is being detected. (Wagner, 2009)
It usually takes around three days to get to a conclusive result after the collection of the samples. Till now this is the fastest way of detecting the paternity of the child. This non-invasive technology makes it possible for a quick and prompt paternity test.
What if the father is unwilling to participate?
If the probable father is unwilling or unavailable to donate adequate samples for the DNA based paternity test then the alleged grandparents (the parents of the father) can also participate to ensure the connection.
This process will only determine whether or not the child is biologically related to the grandparents. Now if the grandparents have multiple sons then each of them can be a probable father. Hence in order to get an accurate result the participation of the supposed father becomes necessary. The medical practitioners will collect a sample from the father and match it with the child.
Where from the samples can be collected?
Usually in case of a paternity test samples are collected from the alleged father and also the child. Samples can be collected from multiple objects including blood, saliva, hair, check swab, semen of the father, and umbilical cord after the birth of the child, and other tissues also.
Is there any other method?
There is an option of the invasive paternity test. However, this kind of test can pose certain threat to the child. Also if you are willing to undergo an invasive paternity test then in that case you need to obtain permission from the OB-GYN.
The two main methods of invasive are amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling or also known by the name CVS. In case of the former the doctors use ultrasound to guide the needle to collect the amino fluid from the placenta, where the fetus resides. This test can be done any time during the 15th week of the pregnancy.
The latter is yet another painful intervention where the doctors guide a needle through the mother’s vagina to the chorionic villi on the walls of the uterus. These usually contain the baby’s DNA. This process possesses the threat of damaging the uterus and also the amniotic sac. That is why it is highly risky and better to be avoided. (De Jong, 2010)
Both these tests are complex and more time consuming. That is why the non-invasive technique involving blood sample collection of the pregnant mother is the best and the fastest way of conducting a paternity test.
What goes on during a paternity test?
A paternity test can only proceed after taking legal consent from all the involved parties. There is a load of paperwork that needs to be conducted. After the papers are signed and the payment is being made, the paternity test proceeds. (Dondorp, 2015)
The nature of the sample collection depends mostly on the type of paternity test ordered. Barring the non-invasive and invasive tests mentioned above (all three of them are applicable before the birth of the child) other simpler tests can be conducted once the baby is born.
One of the easiest and the least expensive method is taking cheek swabs from the child, the father, and the mother. The swabs are kept in three separate sterile bags ready for DNA extraction. The actual paternity test needs around 3 days to conclude.
However, if it is a court ordered paternity test then in that case the results can only be provided to the court and the concerned parties can only get the results after lots of legal paper-works.
How much does it cost?
The cost of a paternity test varies according to the nature of the test and the time of its occurrence. Normally the price ranges from $400 to $500 per test. Even a pre-birth paternity test aided with the highest and most advanced technological interventions should not exceed the cost of $550 per test.
In case it is a court ordered paternity test then the price is a bit lower. Courts normally assign a contract DNA paternity test facility and the parents along with the child need to go specifically to that facility in order to conduct the test. (Dondorp, 2015)
In some cases if the first paternity test fails to provide conclusive results a further test can be ordered by the court. The price of such tests can be a bit expensive. If the fetus is still in the womb of the mother the OB-GYN can order an invasive paternity test like in the form of amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. The costs of such tests are usually much higher than the regular cheek swab tests. But it is safe to say that most of the cheek swab or regular sample collection DNA paternity tests provide fairly accurate results.
Unless it is not absolutely necessary (ordered by OB-GYN) then it is not wise to go for the invasive DNA paternity tests. They post much risk to your child.
The non-invasive test is safe and also prompt when compared to the other pre-birth DNA tests. 8 weeks is the soonest a father can know whether the child is his or not.