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How does a DNA paternity test work?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2022 | Child Custody

If you and your partner have a child but you’re not sure that the child is yours, one of the things you might do is ask for a DNA paternity test. A DNA-based paternity test is around 99% accurate, which means that the findings from that test, when given correctly, are conclusive evidence of a biological link between you and the child in question.

A DNA paternity test is a great idea if you’re uncertain about your child’s heritage. If there were concerns about adultery or cheating around the time of the pregnancy, you may want to consider getting the DNA test before signing a birth certificate or acknowledging that you’re the father voluntarily.

How does a DNA test work, and when is it done?

In most cases, the paternity test is done only after your child is born. It’s a noninvasive test, and it can be done in a few different ways.

The most common way of performing a DNA test is to take a swabbed sample of the inside of your child’s cheek. You will also give a sample, and the mother will provide a third.

The DNA will then be compared. If it matches, you will get a positive test result and know that you’re the biological parent. If it does not match, then you will know with 99% certainty that you are not the father.

Can a DNA test be done before birth?

Yes, but they are not always done before birth because they can be more dangerous. The two invasive options, amniocentesis and CVS, do pose some risk to the baby. There is another option that requires a blood sample from the mother and a cheek swab from the potential father that is noninvasive, too. This particular test can be done after the mother has been pregnant for at least seven weeks.

Once you determine that you are the biological parent, you can take action to confirm your legal rights. Once you do, you can seek child custody, may pay or receive child support and may have other rights or responsibilities related to your child’s care.