Guide to Paternity Testing

Generally, DNA Testing is used to determine or identify the genetic information of an individual. The genetic information is called DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid. It is sometimes called DNA fingerprinting, which is a term used to describe that DNA information is very unlikely to be exactly the same on two persons just like there are no two persons with the same fingerprint.

DNA testing can establish a child’s biological father and can end the agony of parents and give the child some peace of mind. Undergoing a paternity testing is a decision that must be think about many times beforehand especially when results may not be what it is expected to be and could potentially lead to a chaotic mess in the family.

There is no need to take large samples of cells for paternal DNA testing. Swabbing on the sides of the cheek for both the father and the child will contain adequate DNA information to establish their relationship. This is otherwise known as buccal swabbing, which is a painless and fast procedure of obtaining DNA samples.

Reasons for Doing Paternity Testing

The primary reason for paternity testing as mentioned is to establish the biological father of a child in question. Other times, the test is also used to determine the parents of babies who are suspected to be switched at birth – intentionally or accidentally.

Lab Testing Preparation

Before you can submit yourself to paternity testing, you must tell the medical professional whether you’ve had recent blood transfusion in a period of three months. There is nothing to prepare prior to undergoing the test.

If you have any questions, concerns or doubts, it may be best to talk to your attending physician prior to the test such as risks, how it is done and the interpretation of results.

Laboratory Setting – Obtaining a Buccal Swab

As mentioned, buccal swabbing is non-invasive, painless and quick procedure of obtaining a DNA sample. It involves swabbing a cotton-like kit to the sides of the cheek. This is to collect loose cells of the cheek, which will then be processed in the laboratory.

What can Affect Paternity Testing?

There are several things that can affect the test, which can either defer you from taking the test or invalidate the paternity testing results, including:

  • Recent blood transfusion within the past three months
  • Inadequate sample size but for voluntary paternity DNA testing this may not be a source of concern

What Makes Paternity Testing Legal?

There are paternity test kits available that can be performed at home. While this can give you a fairly good idea on DNA fingerprinting, it is not considered legal especially when it is required as evidence in a court proceeding. The court of law will require you to have results from a professional and qualified laboratory.

Apart from DNA fingerprinting, other tests can also help in establishing paternity over a child such as genetic testing and karyotyping, which can also be used to detect diseases that are inherited.

If you want to have paternity testing done, you should always consider the facts first by talking to your attending physician and other persons that may be involved in the test.