Learn about non-invasive prenatal options for paternity testing.,
Learn about invasive prenatal options.,
Perform a DNA test at the baby’s birth.,
Perform a DNA test after the child has been born.,
Obtain your results.,
Know the cost of paternity testing.
If you’re pregnant and you’re unsure about who the father is, it is possible to determine paternity before the child is born. Several tests can obtain a DNA sample from the baby while it’s in utero. Note, however, that with these methods, you will need the father to provide a DNA sample (usually via cheek swab or blood sample.) Of all the prenatal options for paternity testing, Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP) Testing is the least stressful for the baby. This test doesn’t take a DNA sample directly from the unborn baby. Rather, it takes a blood sample from the mother. The baby’s DNA, which can be found in the mother’s bloodstream, is analyzed and compared to the potential father’s., Other options for determining a baby’s paternity besides NIPP Testing exist. However, because some of these procedures require a doctor to enter the uterus with medical devices, they carry small but real risks up to and including miscarriage. Because of this, deciding to undergo an invasive paternity test is a serious decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Talk to your doctor before deciding on an invasive paternity testing procedure – even the smallest risks should be taken into account for the sake of the baby’s health.
Amniocentesis. This test is usually performed in the second trimester, between the 14th and 20th week of pregnancy. The doctor uses an ultrasound device to guide a thin needle into the uterus through the abdomen. The needle draws a small amount of amniotic fluid, which is tested.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, side effects of this procedure include cramping, amniotic fluid leak, and vaginal bleeding. There is a small risk of miscarriage (about 1 in 300-500). A doctor’s consent is needed to do this procedure.
Chorionic Villus Sampling. This test is similar to Amniocentesis in that a needle is inserted into the vagina guided by ultrasound to obtain a sample of a chorionic villi. The chorionic villi are finger like structures attached at the wall of the uterus which comes from the same fertilized egg as the fetus hence will have the same genetic make up. This test can be done earlier in pregnancy (from 10-13 weeks on).
Like with Amniocentesis, a doctor’s consent is needed to do this procedure. Similarly, there is also a very small (but real) risk of miscarriage.
, If the baby is about to be born, you may not want to perform a prenatal test. In this case, know that it’s possible to obtain a DNA sample from a recently-born baby. Usually, this means taking a blood sample from the umbilical cord just after the baby is born. This doesn’t hurt the baby – the cord has no feeling.
Generally, umbilical cord tests are less expensive than prenatal tests, but more expensive than postnatal tests (tests performed after birth from a cheek swab, blood sample, etc.)., DNA tests can be performed on people of any age. If your child has already been born, there are a wide variety of accredited labs which, for a fee, can perform a paternity test with a high level of accuracy using a DNA sample from the child, the father, and, occasionally, the mother. Search online for paternity testing agencies to learn more. Before you make a decision, make sure that the DNA Diagnostic center you use is properly accredited by the AABB, the American Association of Blood Banks.
If the DNA samples are taken in a clinical setting, they will most likely be in the form of a cheek swab or with a blood sample.
Paternity tests don’t necessarily need a clinical cheek swab or blood sample from the father – it’s possible (but not usually guaranteed) that a usable DNA sample can be obtained from such things as a strand of hair, a piece of chewing gum, a cigarette butt, and other discarded items.
, After DNA samples have been taken, they must be sent to a lab and analyzed by technicians to determine the child’s paternity. Allow several days to about weeks for your results. Talk to your test provider – the results may be mailed to you, or you may have to go back to the testing location to receive them.
, Understand that, in most circumstances, paternity testing is considered an elective (non-necessary) procedure, so it’s not covered by most insurance plans.Tests can range anywhere from less than $100 (for the cheapest options) to $1000 to $2,000 for the most accurate, extensive testing. Prenatal tests are almost always more expensive than postnatal tests. For accurate results, you should expect to pay at least several hundred dollars.Note that if you want the results of a DNA test to be admissible in court, the price will likely be higher. If you just want the result for personal knowledge, however, the price will likely be lower, and the test can be self-administered at home.Sometimes, there is a separate fee for DNA sample collection.