How Are Paternity Tests Performed?

Paternity tests are becoming more and more common all the time as unplanned pregnancies occur and paternity needs to be determined to involve a father, or simply to receive child support. Raising a child alone isn’t easy, so if it takes a paternity test to either get the father involved or get a court order for child support the process is definitely worth it.

There are a number of companies that will provide you with paternity testing. These companies vary in their quality, accuracy, and pricing. When you are looking for paternity test results that will stand up in court you’ll probably have to go with the higher quality testing programs. Unfortunately, these high quality paternity tests are the more costly, but in the long run it will be well worth it.

There are several methods for paternity testing. Most testing companies prefer that the DNA of the mother, the child, and the alleged father are all collected to make the process more straightforward. DNA testing can be done without the mother’s DNA but it will usually take a few days longer. If the mother cannot be present for some reason, just be prepared for the testing to take a bit longer.

The most common testing procedure is to swab the inside of the mouth to collect skin cells that shed in large amounts. A mouth swab allows for a lot of DNA to be collected quickly and easily, even with small children or children that do not want to cooperate. The mouth swab is then carefully sealed and sent directly to a lab to compare it against the DNA markers of both parents to find if there is a correlation.

Many paternity tests are also done with blood spot cards, which require blood to be squeezed from an area of the mother’s, fathers, and child’s body and then the DNA from each is compared in a lab much the same way as the mouth swab DNA is compared. As always, avoiding contamination and a clear chain of custody of the DNA is important in maintaining the integrity of the testing.

Many companies still use the standard blood tests, which need to be drawn in a lab, for paternity testing. Again, it’s good for the mother, child, and alleged father to be involved to expedite the testing process. The blood samples will then be sent to a DNA lab to determine if the child shares the DNA of both the mother and the father.

The whole process typically takes about a week, which is much better than the length of time that people had to wait to get DNA results back even five years ago. You’ll find that going with a reputable company may take a bit longer, but it’s worth it for accurate results. When you choose a company to work with for DNA testing, you’ll want to choose one that compares at least 8-16 DNA markers so that you have the most accurate information possible.

Paternity testing can be stressful, but having the answers in just days will allow you to take charge of your life and stop wondering. Many people get paternity testing done for a whole host of reasons, so if you have unanswered questions don’t hesitate!

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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