Paternity tests are greatly helpful in a wide range of situations. They can be used by women who want to prove to their partners that they are the father of their child, as well as men who want to confirm whether their children are biologically theirs.
Paternity tests can also be used by adult children (such as those who were adopted) to know who their father really is. Even grandparents can use these tests to confirm if a child is their grandchild or not.
- History Of Paternity Tests
- Types of Paternity Tests
- Paternity Tests Cost
- Best At-home Paternity Tests
- How to Use Paternity Tests
- Paternity Tests Pros
- Paternity Tests Cons
- Paternity Tests and the Legal System
- Final Note
History of Paternity Tests
Paternity tests became available in the 1920s when scientists discovered that blood types are usually inherited from parents.
For instance, a man and a woman who both have the O blood type will only produce children who have the same blood type, while a couple who both have the A blood type will produce children who have either the A or O blood type.
Unfortunately, this type of paternity test was inconclusive since it had an exclusion rate of only 30 percent.
Serological testing (which tested for certain types of proteins in the blood) became available in the 1930s, but its exclusion rate was only 40 percent.
It was followed by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing, which became available in the 1960s. It had an 80 percent accuracy rate, although it could not determine between close relatives (e.g. the actual father of the child versus his brothers or cousins).
Over the years, paternity testing improved with the discovery of new knowledge about the human body. The type of testing available now called polymerase chain reaction or PCR became the standard for parental testing via the DNA of the alleged father and child. It had an exclusion rate of 99.99 percent and even higher, and it produced highly accurate results in a faster way than its predecessors.
Types of Paternity Tests
Paternity testing can be divided into two major categories: prenatal and postnatal testing. In prenatal paternity testing, the parentage of the baby is tested before he or she is born. This can be done through several methods.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), for instance, involves inserting a thin tube or needle through the vagina and cervix to obtain chorionic villi from the uterus. Chorionic villi are a type of tissue that has the same genetic makeup as the fetus, and they can be used to establish parentage through DNA.
Another method is amniocentesis, which involves inserting a needle through the mother’s abdomen to obtain amniotic fluid (which is used in DNA testing) from the uterus.
Both CVS and amniocentesis come with the risk of miscarriage due to their invasive nature. Because of this, many healthcare experts prefer Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (or NIPP). This type of testing takes advantage of the fact that the fetus’s DNA can be found in the mother’s bloodstream.
So, instead of obtaining samples directly from the uterus, experts can simply collect a sample of the mother’s blood and compare it with a DNA sample from the alleged father.
Postnatal paternity testing can take place right after the baby is born and even until he or she grows into an adult. There are many paternity testing kits that allow people to obtain samples at home and send them to the laboratory.
Many companies offer in-laboratory testing, although at-home paternity tests are more popular because of the convenience they offer.
How Much Do They Cost?
Due to their invasive nature, paternity tests require strict procedures and specialized tools and equipment. As a result, they are usually more expensive because of the doctors’ fees and hospital-related charges involved.
At-home paternity tests are a lot cheaper than prenatal testing. Many paternity kits can be bought online at around $100 to $200, and this usually covers not just the price of the kit but also the shipping charges and laboratory fees.
It’s important to note that each kit is usually just for the child and one alleged father; if there are several putative fathers involved, additional kits will have to be purchased.
Best At-Home Paternity Tests – Which Paternity Testing Kits Should You Buy?
There are lots of at-home paternity testing kits in the market, but not all of them are created equal. To ensure you’ll get accurate results and enjoy great value for money, you need to do your research and look for high-quality kits offered by reputable and reliable companies.
One of your best options is the STK Paternity Test Kit by SterlingTEK, which verifies 16 DNA loci — three more than what the FBI tests for when checking for DNA matches.
The test is 99.999 percent accurate, and it’s accredited by the AABB and compliant with ISO 17025.
The kit includes all laboratory fees (so you won’t have to deal with additional expenses), and it comes with a free return mailer that will carry your samples back to the lab.
You can access the results online as soon as they become available, and SterlingTEK will mail you a full-color hard copy of the results.
Another excellent option is the Rapid 21 Marker DNA Paternity Test Kit, which is offered by RSC Health.
One of the best things about this kit is that it tests 21 DNA loci, which increases its accuracy rate up to 99.99998 percent and makes it more reliable.
It’s accredited not just by the AABB but also by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
The price of the kit covers all the lab fees, and it comes with free FedEx overnight shipping so you can send your samples to the laboratory ASAP. You’ll get the results via email within 3 to 5 business days.
How to Use Paternity Tests
Prenatal paternity testing needs to be done in a clinic or laboratory since it requires the skills and expertise of doctors and other experts. This isn’t the case with postnatal paternity testing kits since most of them can be used at home.
If you opt for this type of testing, you’ll first need to purchase an at-home paternity testing kit online. This kit contains several cotton swabs, which are used to collect buccal cells for the paternity test.
Swipe two swabs (or more, depending on the kit’s instructions) on the inside of the alleged father’s cheek; use another two or more swabs to gather samples from the inside of the child’s cheek.
Enclose the two sets of swabs in separate envelopes, label these properly, and send them back to the laboratory, along with any forms you are required to fill out. The laboratory will send you the results in several days or weeks.
Pros and Cons of Paternity Tests
Why should you get a paternity test — and why not? This is an important question to ask yourself since, like anything else, paternity testing comes with both advantages and disadvantages, and you need to weigh them first before deciding if you’d move ahead or not. We’ve listed some of these pros and cons below:
You’ll know your parentage. Whether you grew up with questions about your biological father’s identity, or you’ve just started questioning it now, you deserve to know the truth. Taking a paternity test is one of the best ways to find out.
You can prove who the father of your child is. Identifying the biological father of your child is important since it can make it easier for you to obtain financial support for your child. You’ll also give the father the chance to build a relationship with his child and ensure your son or daughter grows up with the father’s emotional support.
You’ll confirm whether a child is yours or not. Certain circumstances can make you doubt your biological relationship with your child whom you’ve raised since birth or with a child whom an ex-spouse or ex-girlfriend claims is yours. Taking a paternity test can help you separate fact from fiction.
You’ll develop a better relationship with your child. Confirming that you’re the biological father of your child can affirm your relationship and make your bond stronger. This, in turn, can help your son or daughter develop better emotional stability since he or she grows up with your constant support.
You can outline your child’s medical history in a clear and detailed way. Children can inherit medical issues from both the father and the mother, so it’s important to identify their biological parents to get more information about possible health problems that can affect them as they grow up.
You’ll make immigration smoother by proving you are indeed the biological father of your child. Many governments now require family-based immigrants to go through DNA testing to prove that they are indeed related to the people they’re bringing into the country.
You can help your child grow up with great physical and emotional health. Several studies have shown that the presence of a father’s name on the birth certificate can greatly affect infant mortality.
Babies with no father’s name on their birth certificate (which indicates the lack of paternal involvement) are more at risk of dying than those with complete birth certificates.
You’ll put a strain on your family relationships. Even if the test proves that you indeed are the father of your children, the fact that you need to take the test might cause you to doubt your relationship with your children and their mother.
You might severely damage your relationship with your family, depending on the results of the paternity test. For instance, if the test proves that you’re not the biological father of your child, you can be left reeling over the deception that you’ve been put through over the years. Your child, on the other hand, may act on the desire to look for his biological father and emotionally detach himself from you.
You’ll need to spend a substantial amount of money. Paternity tests can be costly, particularly those done before the child is born. This makes them inaccessible to those who have limited budgets.
You won’t be able to use the test in court since not all paternity tests can be used as court evidence. Basic paternity kits are not legally admissible, which means you can only use them for your personal knowledge and not to obtain child support or legally assert your right as the child’s biological father.
Paternity Tests and the Legal System
New York has banned at-home paternity tests, which is why many companies don’t deliver their kits to New York addresses. If you live in the Big Apple and would like to go through paternity testing, you’ll need to get a court order or obtain a prescription for it from your physician.
It’s important to note that, even if you’re not in New York, you will not be able to use at-home paternity tests as legal evidence. Only paternity tests that follow a strict chain of custody will be considered in court.
This means that the participants of the test should be properly identified and that the samples should be taken by a third-party expert not related to any of the participants and has no personal stake in the case.
This also means that at-home paternity tests (which are usually administered by you or your family members) are not legally admissible and are only meant to provide personal knowledge.
If you need to use paternity test results in court, you’ll want to obtain legal DNA testing services from accredited laboratories. The child and the alleged father will both need to go to the laboratory in person so their samples can be obtained by a third-party professional.
These services are more expensive than at-home paternity test kits, but they’re worth the price since they can be used as evidence.
Paternity tests are important for personal, medical, and legal purposes. With the availability of at-home paternity test kits, it’s now incredibly easy to confirm the parentage of your child (or even yourself) and identify the biological father.
If court evidence is needed, there are many laboratories that offer legally admissible DNA tests and administer them according to the legal requirements.