Asking for a paternity test can be uncomfortable, especially if you and your partner are in a committed relationship. Even when the conversation is handled delicately, there are bound to be hurt feelings and additional conversations that follow. While it may seem like a lose/lose situation, it’s far less painful to determine the father of a child sooner rather than later. To help prepare for this difficult discussion, consider the following.
If you are the potential father asking the mother for a paternity test
While it is possible to get a paternity test without the mother’s knowledge, it is highly recommended to include her in the process so as to get the most accurate results possible. Because you already know she is the mother, submitting her DNA with both the child’s and your samples provides genetic scientists two sets of DNA against which to compare, resulting in a more conclusive analysis.
If you wish to include her DNA in paternity testing for stronger results, it’s important to include a couple of things for clarification when having your discussion with her:
1. Explain your reasons for wanting to verify the child’s paternity
First, you should explain why you would like a paternity test, whether it is to ease your mind or eliminate even the smallest suspicions. However, remember that to avoid coming off as insulting or offensive, you shouldn’t be accusatory. Your respect for her will make the mother more likely to participate in the paternity testing process.
2. Have a rational discussion about your future involvement with the child and the mother
To make your desires clear, no matter what the paternity test results say, it’s necessary to discuss next steps. If results indicate that you are not the father, both you and your partner should have a clear idea of the child’s future. Do you want to stay in the relationship? Do you have any interest in being a part of the child’s life? If you are the father but do not wish to remain with your partner, are you ready to accept the legal responsibilities? A candid conversation about this will eliminate unnecessary stress and confusion as the paternity testing process moves forward.
If you are the mother asking the potential father for a paternity test
If you are unable or would prefer not to have this conversation, it is possible to get a paternity test without the father, but it will still require testing someone from his immediate family.
If you do choose to have this conversation and involve him in the process, there are several things you should mention:
1. Express interest in taking a paternity test for his own well-being
Explain that your interest in a paternity test stems from your concern for his own well-being. Informing him that you are not trying to deceive him and would like to give him the opportunity to know for certain if he is the father can reassure him and let him know your heart is in the right place.
2. Discuss the future of your relationship and the child in both possible outcomes.
The next important step in this conversation is to establish an understanding of what’s next, for both the child and your relationship. Discuss each of your wishes for both possible scenarios, whether he is or is not the father. Possible questions to consider are: Do you still love each other? Do you want to stay together, even if he is not the father? What would be best for the child? Expressing your opinions in all of these matters will give the conversation some closure with as few lingering concerns as possible. Painful as it can be, it’s best for all people involved (including your child) for the adults to have mature discussions and then make important decisions.
In the event that DNA test results prove a man is not the father, there are resources available to guide you through the next steps, whether he would still like to be involved in child’s life or take a legal paternity test to establish the child’s true parentage in court.
Asking a partner for a paternity test is hard, and the challenge does not end after your initial conversation. For information on organizations and services to get you through this difficult time, check out these other helpful resources.
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My son’s father and I took the home dna test on Wednesday 17, ….how long will it take to get any information? I’m worried about the test not being readable due to he put the swab back into the original plastic package at first. Such a headache right now… Any advice?
Hi, Danielle! Depending on where you live, once you drop the envelope in the mail, it generally takes 5-10 business days for your samples to arrive at our lab. Then please allow 2 business days for testing. You will be emailed when your samples arrive, and again when your results are ready to view online. As for putting samples back in the original packaging, if that action contaminated samples in any way, you’ll hear from us, OK? We would simply send you out new collection materials. No worries! Thanks for your comment, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to call one of our friendly client support representatives at 888-404-4363 during business hours.
The envelopes containing the samples of baby and possible father were wet and touch one on the other. Will the wet envelopes touching or bleed affect the results of the test causing a positive test erroneously?
Hi, Ken. This action may affect the integrity of the DNA samples, yes. If this happens, the lab will simply ask for new samples from you. It’s mainly an inconvenience for you because you have to wait longer to get your report, but it won’t affect your results.
Can a dna test be performed without the mother’s sample?
Hi, Marshall. In the huge majority of paternity tests, the mother’s DNA is not needed to confirm paternity. However, we do highly recommend that she contribute hers as well, just in case. And her participation is included in the lab fee.
Hi, Marshall. In most cases, the mother’s sample is not needed to get conclusive results. But we still highly recommended submitting hers as well, in case her DNA is needed after all. Her participation is included in the price of testing.
Is it possible to perform a DNA test without the possible father knowing?
Hi, Yaimi. We require signed permission from all participants in order to do testing, so no. We recommend being honest and upfront, even though it’s hard sometimes!
Dana Smalls says
Is it possible to get dna from a family memeber of the child ifbthe mother doesnt want to swab the baby?
Hi, Dana. If a child is a minor, then the mother must give her signed consent for testing.
My friend was named the father of his brother’s estranged wife’s baby 13 years ago. She even stated that my friend was the child’s father in an open court proceeding.
However, while my friend was incarcerated approximately 4 or 5 years later, the mother and her ex-husband (my friend’s brother), had a paternity test done which showed that the child was actually his – the probability was high, like 99.7% or something like that.
My question is whether or not the test results could possibly be wrong because they only performed a “regular” paternity test WITHOUT disclosing the fact that the other “potential father” was the full blooded brother (same mother and father) of the man that was tested. My friend has never had his DNA tested along with that of his brother, the child and the child’s mother.
Basically, I want to know if the first, and only, paternity test that was done with only the one brother’s DNA could be the correct result, especially at such a high percentage of probability, or should another test be done with all four of them – the mother, the child and both brothers?
Thank you very much.
Hi, Lily. What excellent questions! A child inherits 100% of their genes from both parents, and siblings share 50% of those genes. Depending on how similar their genomes are, testing only one of the possible fathers could result in a “false positive.” That’s why it’s absolutely essential to let a lab know ahead of time if a different possible father than the one being tested is a close relative. With this information, the lab will test more genetic markers if necessary and adjust their analysis. Seeing as the initial test was 13 years ago and technology has improved considerably since then, I would highly recommend that your friend test again. And yes, including the mother and the other possible father would remove any doubt of paternity. And this time, it should be made clear to the lab that the men being tested are brothers. Hope this helps!
My exboyfriend was abusive to me and I found out I was pregnant after I left him. I cut off all contact and he doesn’t know I’m pregnant. If I leave the state will this prevent him from having legal rights to his unborn son/ daughter?
Hi, Tiffany. We are a testing facility and not legal advisors. You may want to contact an attorney or social worker in your area. I wish you all the best!
I am getting so anxious waiting on this test to come back. I wish I would have just paid the express mail because the suspense is killing me here lol. I have already wondered for two years.. Now I have to wonder even more. I can’t wait for my results. When you have two relationships three weeks apart.. Its scart
Michele, just think. Once you do have your answer you won’t have the pain of not knowing anymore. Worth the wait, no? Hang in there! :-)
I like that you mentioned the importance of asking for the father’s well-being. This is a great way to make sure that you are not deceiving him. My sister might like knowing this as she looks into getting DNA testing.