Paternity testing can already be a nerve-wracking process for all participants involved. This is why it is important for expectant mothers who have paternity questions to make an educated decision about if a prenatal DNA paternity test is the right choice for her or if it’s preferable to wait for the child’s birth to get tested.
Non-Invasive Prenatal DNA Paternity Test
It is called “non-invasive,” because it doesn’t involve sample collection through the vagina, or cervix. A fetal-cells analysis paternity test uses a small blood samples from the mother, from which the fetus’s DNA can be profiled. Fetal cells are present in maternal blood, and this allows scientists to create a limited genetic profile for the baby as early as eight (8) weeks into a pregnancy. That profile is compared with those of the mother and possible father in order to determine whether or not the baby is biologically related to the man being tested. The sample from the possible father is collected via a simple cheek swab. Unlike the CVS and Amniocentesis tests outlined below, this test presents no risk whatsoever to the baby or mother.
CVS Sampling for paternity testing Paternity Tests can be performed as early as 10-12 weeks. Samples from the child can be collected using CVS (chorionic villus sampling), which is an invasive collection through the vagina and cervix to gather placenta. It can also be collected with a thin needle through the belly. This is done for collecting Chorionic Villi which are tiny growths found in the placenta. The material in the chorionic villus cells are the same as the baby’s cells and can be used for paternity DNA testing.
Amniocentesis for paternity testing Paternity testing is also available if you are past the 12-week mark. Amniocentesis is usually performed at 15-20 weeks. The amniocentesis collection process is done by putting a needle through the belly into the uterus to collect amniotic fluid.
After the child’s samples are collected, the mother and alleged father’s samples can be done using buccal (cheek) swabs, and sent in for paternity testing with the child’s sample. The biological mother and alleged father’s samples can be done as a self-collection for peace of mind paternity testing, or a legal collection (collected by a third party) to have the paternity results used for legal purposes such as child support.
The Bottom Line about Prenatal Paternity TestingOf the three tests listed above, only the non-invasive prenatal paternity test presents absolutely no risk whatsoever to the mother or baby, and it is becoming more and more popular as a result.
If you think that either a CVS or Amnio pre-natal test must be done, it should be a decision made alongside your physician. There are risks involved with the CVS and Amniocentesis procedures, including miscarriage . Your physician can help determine if mom and child are healthy enough to undergo either of these procedures. The tests are are generally not covered by insurance if the only reason for doing them is to answer a paternity question.
If you decide prenatal testing isn’t for you, the baby can be swabbed immediately after birth and a buccal (cheek) swab DNA collection can be done on all participants. Post-natal testing costs only $119 + the price of a paternity kit.
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