Thursday, December 30, 2010

Get a DNA Paternity Test

Should you get a DNA paternity test? Well, establishing paternity is extremely important for many reasons. From obtaining the child’s full medical history to child support and custody issues, paternity plays a big role in a child’s life. There are a few different ways to determine the father of a child, including blood and DNA testing.

Blood testing uses the information contained in the child and the potential father’s blood to determine whether the potential father is indeed the biological father. The test looks at antigens and blood factors from the child, the potential father, and the child’s mother to determine whether a man is the father or not. However, DNA testing is much more reliable.

DNA testing is more than 99% accurate when it comes to establishing paternity. This can either be done by collecting samples through a buccal swab (swabbing the inside of the cheek) or by collecting blood.

The DNA in the child is received from both parents – half from the father and half from the mother. By looking at the mother and the child’s DNA, experts can determine who the father of the child is, or at least confirm that a particular man is or is not the father of that child.

Most people opt for the DNA testing because it’s more accurate than using blood types to test. In fact, in a court of law, it’s important that the testing is done by DNA for it to stand up and matter. DNA testing can be done from the privacy of your own home or in a clinic.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paternity Rights and Establishing Paternity

Paternity is not a guarantee to custody or rights for a child. However, it is the first step in establishing those rights. Establishing paternity means proving who a child’s biological father is in a court of law. If you and your spouse are separated, not married, or divorced, there are a few important reasons for establishing paternity.


In order for custody issues to be dealt with, a paternity test is usually required. This is especially true if the man or the woman in a case deny paternity of a particular man. Before custody issues can be ironed out, the paternity test will need to prove that a man is the father of a child and therefore has the right to see that child.

Child Support

It’s very easy for a man to deny being the father of a child and using that as his excuse not to pay child support. But it’s also very easy to clear that issue up with a paternity test. If the man is the biological father of a child, he should have to help pay for that child – from education to food and even clothing.

Other Issues

There are numerous other reason to know for sure who a child’s father is. From medical history issues to grandparent’s rights, it’s easier on everyone if there is no question and the father has been established through testing. It will also be beneficial for the child when he or she becomes an adult.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

At Home Paternity Tests - Do they Work?

If you don’t know for sure who the father of your child is, but you don’t want to go to a clinic to find out, you can get an at-home paternity test. There are a few things you should know about these tests.

The price of an at home paternity test can be as low as $30, while you might expect to spend nearly $1,000 if you visit the laboratory to have the test done. However, while price is a large issue, so is accuracy.

With an at home paternity test, you’ll take the samples yourself. Usually, this consists of swabbing the inside of the child’s cheek, the potential father’s cheek and the mother’s cheek with separate swabs. The samples are then placed into a sterile container and sent back to the lab. The same tests are done on the samples with these at home tests as the clinics and labs that cost more.

One thing you should know about at-home paternity tests are they’re not usually legal in a court of law. While many labs are creating tests that are designed to stand up in a court of law, most of the time the court orders a DNA test from an actual laboratory or clinic. However, if you just want to do the test for curiosity’s sake and not for child support or custody issues, the at-home tests will work just fine. You’ll also end up spending hundreds of dollars less for the at-home type of test.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Paternity Leave Works

Most fathers aren’t aware that they’re allowed to take paternity leave from work when their child is being born. This means that they can take a period of time off to enjoy the new baby and to help the baby’s mother get accustomed to having a new child in the house.

While the US doesn’t provide paid paternity leave, employers are required to offer this leave to their employees under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA.) In addition to offering a certain period of time (usually a few weeks) off, employers are required to provide the father with his same position, benefits, and pay when he returns.

Some countries do offer paid leave, but these are mostly Asian countries. The time allowed for the father to be off work depends and varies from country to country. For instance, many Asian countries allow several weeks off while countries like Cambodia only offer one to two days. It’s important to spend some time looking up the law in your country so that you can be prepared when the time comes. Also, give your employer notice that you’ll be taking paternity leave around the time that your baby is born, and let the employer know the due date. It’s important to take some time to spend with your baby and your significant other when the time comes, and paternity leave allows you to do that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What are Forensic DNA Tests?

What is Forensic DNA Testing?

Forensics comes form an old Latin word, ‘forensis’ or forum. Today, it has taken slant as far as medical issues like DNA is concerned. Forensics refers to the use of DNA in proving a case in court.

If you have watched the CSI series on TV, then you are adequately informed that it is possible to use a person’s DNA to prove innocence or guilt. Every person’s DNA is unique and cannot be replicated. It is similar to a fingerprint except today, fingerprints can be erased or changed, artificially or through tampering with your finger profile.

A DNA is a miniscule piece of tissue about 1/ millionth inch and can be found in a person’s body and cell tissue. You can think of DNA as a building block upon which are bodies are built. The chances of finding a person with the exact DNA as yourself would 1  for every 300 million.

When the concept of using DNA to identify a person without doubt, it became the main focal point in solving a lot of court cases and crime. Forensic DNA however has its limitations.

DNA testing is not as easy as 1-2-3. Not all countries have the facilities to test DNA, and even if they do, the time frame for getting the results of a DNA test is not immediate. Generally, it takes more than a couple of weeks before the results are known. Thus, the scenes you see in TV where the DNA test results come in minutes is not accurate.

The process of DNA testing means that you have to have two samples to compare with. In forensic DNA, the two sample would be that evidence from a crime scene and the other from the suspect. Evidence could be hair, saliva, blood, skin tissue, semen, vaginal fluid, or nail clippings. If the two samples match, then you have proof that the suspect was in the scene of the crime.

Forensic DNA test can also be used to prove who the parents of a child are, or who two people are siblings or related through blood samples. The beauty of forensic DNA test is as long as the sample from the crime scene is preserved, a criminal can be caught many years after the fact.

Today, many people who have been sentenced wrongly are able to pursue their case through DNA testing. In fact, hundreds of people wrongly accused and judged are finally finding ways to clearing their names and being freed from prison.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Types of DNA Paternity Testing for Genealogy

If you’re considering having your child tested to see if you’re the father, or to establish who the father is, you’re probably wondering how the tests are done. Even if the child isn’t born yet, there are ways to determine who the father is by using DNA paternity testing for genealogy.

Before birth, doctors can do a procedure called amniocentesis to determine the father of the baby. This test requires a small sample of amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac. There are risks with this method, but hundreds of these procedures are done on a daily basis with no problem. Another method before birth involves taking a sample of the fetal genetic material and using that to determine who the father is.  With this method, physicians will go through the cervix and extract a small amount of cells from the bottom of the amniotic sac. This is typically done at about five weeks into the pregnancy while amniotic fluid testing is done later in the pregnancy.

After birth, a DNA paternity testing for genealogy sample can be taken from the inside of a child’s cheek, his or her urine, or his or her blood. This is then compared with DNA from both parents to determine who the biological father is. There are numerous benefits to having a paternity test done – from medical reasons to custody and child support issues. In addition to all of this, when a child becomes an adult, he or she will want to know who their biological father is, and will appreciate it if you’re able to tell them. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Advice for Choosing a Great DNA Paternity Testing Laboratory

Hundreds of thousands of paternity tests are done in the US each year. The most reliable source of paternity testing is DNA, and in order to have your child’s DNA tested against that of the potential father, you’ll need to visit a laboratory. Below are some great tips on how to choose a laboratory.

Visit the website of the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). This association provides accreditation for certain laboratories that pass their rigorous testing. You should know that less than half the labs tested receive the accreditation; testament to the kind of procedures this association goes through to test. The website can refer you to a lab in your area that has been given the accreditation.

Research any laboratory you’re considering, and spend a good amount of time reading up on the history of the lab, any legal complications the lab might have gone through, and any other relevant information. You might then consider calling a customer service representative from the labs you’re considering. It’s important to use your gut feeling to determine which lab would suit you best, and speaking to a representative will allow you to get a first impression.

If you know anyone who has used a lab for DNA testing in the past, you can ask them for recommendations. This is a good way to get inside information on how the lab works and conducts business. Using these tips, you can find a laboratory to help you determine the paternity of your child.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dads: Taking Paternity Leave When Baby is Due

Mothers often take maternity leave just before they’re expected to give birth. Maternity leave gives mothers the chance to recover from birth, and enjoy their brand new babies before they have to return to work. Most people aren’t aware that employers are required by law to give expectant fathers paternity leave.

Paternity leave is outlined in the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA.) While employers aren’t required to pay expectant fathers any money during their leave, they are required to allow the father to return to his original position. The father must also retain his original rate of pay, bonuses, benefits, and anything else that went with his job before he took paternity leave.

Paternity leave is a wonderful chance for fathers to help their wives or girlfriends with the brand new baby, and to form a special bond with their child. From waking up in the middle of the night for a feeding to helping Mom get the house in order, paternity leave gives fathers the perfect opportunity to really be there for their families. It’s important that you speak to your employer and let him or her know the expected due date. Also, let them know if you plan on taking paternity leave.

By keeping your employer informed, you can let them know that you are aware that they must offer paternity leave, and that you fully intend on taking that paternity leave. If you’re refused, you may have the right to seek compensation from your employer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Types of Paternity Tests

Establishing paternity is extremely important. Not only will knowing your child’s father 100% help you establish child support and other benefits for your child, but it will help you hold your child’s father responsible for other situations as well. Below are the types of paternity tests.

DNA Testing

DNA is the most popular form of paternity tests. These tests can be done before the child is born or after. Before the child is born, there are a few different tests. A sampling of the fetal genetic material can be taken through the cervix at around five weeks of pregnancy and used to determine who the child’s father is. Later in the pregnancy, a physician can take a sample of amniotic fluid to determine who the father is. These tests are invasive and pose risks, so it’s better to wait until after the child is born.

After the child is born, a sample can be collected by swabbing the child’s cheek with a buccal swab. The DNA present will be compared to the DNA of the father and the mother. This test can tell who the father is with more than 99% accuracy.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can also generally tell who the child’s biological father is, although it’s not thought to be as conclusive as DNA testing. The type of blood and the antigens determine whether the child belongs to a particular man or not. There are many benefits to establishing paternity and with at-home paternity tests, it is much less expensive than it was in the past.

Non Invasive Paternity Testing

Looking for non invasive paternity testing? Aside from an amniocentesis and chorionic villus test, there is another test that is can be used to establish the paternity of a child. This is the umbilical cord test. It’s known as cordocentesis. This can be done at 18 weeks of pregnancy.

The physician will use a camera to determine where the fetus’s umbilical cord enters the amniotic sac. Using a needle, the physician will find the correct spot and then extract a very small amount of the fetal cord blood. This blood is then tested and compared to the potential father’s DNA.

This non invasive paternity test does come with some risks, as do any other invasive tests. However, you should know that it’s a test that is done very regularly with minimal problems. It’s important to speak with your doctor to determine the risks and to determine whether you’re healthy enough to undergo this kind of testing. You can also discuss other options and together, determine which is the best test for you and your unique situation.

Some of the risks of having the baby’s cord blood tested for paternity include premature membrane rupture, bleeding, infection, and a lower fetal heart rate. Whether you decide to go ahead with this procedure or wait until the baby is born to establish paternity, it is important to find out for sure who the baby’s biological father is.

Not only will this provide you with important information regarding the baby’s medical history, but it will help you with legal issues like child support and custody. 

Establishing DNA Paternity Test Results

You might have a dozen different arguments against establishing paternity. For instance, you might not need or want the child support that you could legally force your child’s biological father to pay. He may not want custody, so there may not be a need to establish paternity for that reason. However, you should consider establishing paternity for your child’s benefit. After all, there is nothing like establishing DNA paternity test results and knowing hands down the real deal about your child's paternity. Here's some tips:

At the Doctor

Your child’s doctor will want to know your child’s full medical history – that includes the history from your side of the family and the paternal side of the family. This information can become invaluable if anything should happen and your child would need a major medical procedure. This is one of the reasons for establishing paternity that can truly benefit your child.

In the Future

We all want to know where we came from and who our parents are. Even if you have a partner that your child thinks of as his or her father it’s important for your child to know who their actual biological father is. As the child ages, he or she will begin to ask questions and it’s important that you’re able to answer those questions for him or her. Even if the biological father isn’t in the child’s life as the child grows, he may want to be there down the road. That’s when it will be up to your child to decide, and knowing the truth will help him or her make that decision more easily.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Overview of the Prenatal Paternity Test

People who have questions or concerns about paternity and want to determine whether or not a certain man is the father of an unborn child may wish to have a prenatal paternity test conducted. Much like paternity tests that are done postnatal, or after the baby is born, the DNA from the mother, the fetus, and the alleged father are compared with one another to see if paternity is a possibility.

DNA and Establishing Paternity

The structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, was discovered in 1953 and since that time, modern science has developed a number of intricate techniques that have allowed us to identify its complex make-up, and also to ascertain whether or not one person is related to another.

DNA is a molecule present within every cell of every living creature and under a powerful microscope, resembles a twisted ladder, which is why DNA is often referred to as the "double helix." This "ladder" is comprised of four base molecules, adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine that connect the "rungs," which are actually hydrogen bonds. The manner in which all of these molecules are arranges or structured is what is known as a DNA sequence, which are responsible for physical traits and characteristics as well as many other aspects related to heredity.

As cells divide and replicate, markers from both parent's DNA are equally present for a total of 46 chromosomes per cell. Through paternity testing, DNA is extracted through a process involving several distinct steps and then compared with other samples to determine if a match is present.

The Two Types of Prenatal Paternity Tests

Two different methods are used to collect DNA samples from an unborn child, both are considered to be invasive procedures and therefore present a certain amount of risk that should be discussed at length with the mother's obstetrician gynecologist (OB-GYN).

Chorionic Villi Sampling: Chorionic villi sampling, or CVS, is currently the earliest type of prenatal paternity testing that can be done on a fetus. CVS is done during the 10th through 13th weeks of pregnancy and collects cells from the placenta, which is the life-giving membrane that surrounds the tiny fetus. A doctor, usually the mother's obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), uses an ultrasound machine to guide either a hollow needle into the abdomen, or alternately, inserts a catheter into the vagina to collect the cells needed for testing.

Amniocentesis: Done during the 14th through 24th weeks of pregnancy, amniocentesis prenatal paternity testing collects loose cells from the fetus present within the amniotic fluid. Done by an OB-GYN, a long thin needle that is also guided by an ultrasound is inserted into the abdomen and into the amniotic sac to extract the fluid. The cells are retrieved and then processed in the same manner as other cells to ascertain DNA markers that would establish or rule out paternity.

Medical Risks Associated with Prenatal Paternity Testing

Because the two methods of prenatal paternity testing are invasive procedures, there is a certain amount of medical risk associated with both. With amniocentesis, there's the potential for injury to both mother or fetus from the needle, as well as the risk of puncturing the placenta, which in most cases, heals on its on without any harm to the baby.

Because a foreign object is being introduced into the amniotic sac, there's always the potential for infection, although this is a rare occurrence. Also, birth defects such as clubfoot is a concern with amniocentesis, particularly if the procedure is done prior to the 15th week of pregnancy. Always discuss any concerns or questions with your own doctor about prenatal paternity testing.

Home DNA Test Kit

Although Home DNA test kits are frowned upon by FDA, the interest among consumers is reaching fever pitch. This is because DNA testing is much more expensive if you go to a company who offers this service. At the same time, the wait for the results to come through mail is excruciating.
Consumers want to have the option of home DNA test kits because there are some questions that can be answered based on the results of the test. For instance, you can find out if you are a potential cancer patient based on your DNA. Most popular reason though would be paternity tests to prove child support or other similar claims.
Do they work? This would depend on several things:
  • Collection of sample
  • Handling of sample
  • Sample
  • Preservation of sample or time frame between collection and testing
  • Quality of the DNA home kit

In medicine, there are often grey areas, and this means interpretation is also a major factor. You can misdiagnose a test result, and then stress unnecessarily because of it. Most doctors prefer not to recommend DNA home test kits, especially unsupervised ones, because of the potential pitfalls.  One of these pitfalls in codominance which is a term used to describe a condition with several factors or causes.  This means a gene that indicates a chance of getting cancer does not mean much unless it is compared in connection to other genes. As such, misinterpretation is often committed.
If ever you do decide to take one, be sure to read the instructions carefully, and not use it as a toy. Also, the test results are not acceptable in any court of law as evidence. This is merely for personal use only.
You should also choose which DNA home test kit to buy. The cheapest would be around $300, but it may not always be the best choice.  If you need a DNA test for legal reasons, then you need to go through the proper channels. If you just want to go into the “what if?” kind of scenario, then go ahead and take the DNA test. Just be sure that you get someone qualified to help you interpret the test results.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Choose a Paternity Lawyer

If you were with someone who is now pregnant and claims you’re the father but you’re unsure, it’s understandable that you’d want to establish paternity without a doubt. This is especially true considering you could be subject to pay child support if you sign the child’s birth certificate, even if he or she is not your biological child. While establishing paternity does not mean you get instant custody rights, it will go a long way toward working out a legal agreement between you and the child’s mother.

Choosing a Paternity Lawyer

It’s extremely important to consider hiring a paternity lawyer.  This will help ensure that you know your rights and that you’re protected.  There are a few different things you should look for. Your paternity lawyer should be able to handle a wide range of things for you, from establishing paternity to taking care of custody and child support issues.

There are a few different ways to find a good paternity lawyer. One of the most important ways is to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. This is a great way to get inside information on the attorney and the benefits of hiring that particular one. You can also get in touch with your local Bar Association to get a great referral of an attorney who can handle all of these issues for you.

Before going into any situation concerning paternity or child support, consult with a qualified attorney to ensure that you’re protected.

Understanding DNA Paternity Test Results

The results of every medical test today can have a wide range of inferences. Similarly, in a paternity test, the result  will contain the complete DNA profile of the father.  The report will also show a combined parental Index and relationship probability of each person with the child  i.e. the paternity, maternity and grand parentage. The strength of the result is also indicated  in the result. 

The result will be in the form of “inclusion” or “exclusion” giving a conclusive result. Whether the person, who is the alleged father, is excluded or not excluded from the paternity is the final result of this test.  A combined paternity index (CPI) is arrived by analyzing 15 genetic loci, each compared separately.  Each genetic locus is tested and arrived at this CPI.  The CPI analysis helps in getting the probability of paternity and this probability is arrived by comparing the genital population and common genetic information found in the analysis. The CPI result could be up to 99.99% accurate, and this CPI and probability both will be mentioned in the result. 

An Inclusion means that the genetic markers match to a probability of 99% or more which means the person who is an alleged father is not excluded from being a biological father. Similarly an exclusion report gives probability of 0.00% (genetic markers do not match) of the person being excluded from being the biological father of the tested child.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to Get a Paternity Test

A paternity test is done to determine the biological father of the child. Since the DNA is passed on from the father to child, it is possible to identify the father based on the child's DNA. It is mostly done in custody battles and for other legal purposes.

So, how can you get a paternity test done? The first step is to choose a location where the test can be done. Many specialized DNA laboratories are equipped to do this testing.  You can take suggestions from friends and family to select the appropriate place. Doctors can also suggest the right place for you.  If the testing is ordered by the court, the court would give the list of laboratories that provide this service.  Once you choose a DNA testing facility, make sure they are reputable, AABB Accredited,   and use 8-10 markers to  identify genetics.

The father and the son must give a blood sample or a buccal sample that is taken from the inner cheek with a swab. The child could be of any age to under go the test. A photograph of all the parties will be taken by the lab to ensure identities of the parties. The results of the test usually take about a week and they are 99% accurate.

As paternity test could be an emotional experience, it is a good idea to go for counseling during this period.

What is a Genetic Testing Lab?

Genetic testing uses DNA extract for identifying any genetic health problems, prenatal testing and newborn screening. Genetic testing is conducted by accredited laboratories that have legal permission to conduct these tests. The information secured is kept private and confidential, and the information is not leaked to third parties with a vested interest in the evidence.

Basically, there are 5 types of Genetic testing:

-       US healthcare centers conduct newborn screening to check any dangerous health conditions like congenital hyperthyroidism.
-       Expectant mothers usually obtain prenatal testing to screen the fetus for bearing any disease symptoms such as Down Syndrome, physical deterioration, or mental retardation.
-       Families obtain genetic testing to know about the prevalence of recessive genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis.
-       Genetic tests identify the late onset of diseases like Huntington’s or various types of cancer. The tests identify the possibility of predisposition of these health problems. 
-       To identify individuals on the basis of DNA fingerprinting. Forensic sciences use DNA evidence to convict or exonerate criminals.

Genetic testing labs conduct genetic tests follow ethical considerations and adhere to the guidelines provided by healthcare authorities. Costs of testing varies with genetic testing labs but are usually quite expensive tests and require a few days for the results to become available. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tips for Choosing Genetic Testing Companies

Genetic testing is done for a variety of reasons like to determine one's genetic vulnerabilities or to identify the father of a child or to understand one's ancestry. Whatever maybe the reason, its important to choose the right genetic testing company to be assured of optimal results. There are some things that should be considered before deciding on a particular company. 

First and foremost, the company should specify the genetic marker they select for the test and the reason for choosing those markers. Also, the company selected for genetic testing should contain standard page wherein quality and commitment are well demonstrated. 

The company should also clearly mention the laboratory in which they undertake the test and such labs should have the CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment) certificates and ISO.  Those labs should ensure the accuracy of the results. They should be transparent in all stages of the testing process and also the professionals working in these labs should be technically qualified and competent. 

Mailing info, address, phone and all other contact information should be clearly mentioned by the company. They should ensure confidentiality while dealing with any client. The reputation of the company should be good which could be checked through the local business bureau. There should be good customer service and they should be able to quickly resolve any issues and respond to inquires. When a company meets all these criteria, then they are definitely competent enough to handle your genetic tests.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Paternity Tests by Mail

Paternity tests are conducted to determine the biological father of a child. This test is normally ordered by a court in a custody battle. It is done in cases where the  mother of the child had more than one sexual partner during the time of conception. 

Paternity test by mail is done by sending a blood sample or the swab of the inner cheek of the mother, child and the alleged father (one or more persons) of the child by mail to the laboratory that was chosen for this test. The concerned lab would collect these samples and process the tests as required by the clients and send the results by mail.

During this process, there is a high chance for the samples to get mixed up or they can get lost during the transit. There is also a possibility for the results to get mixed up while mailing it back. 

The DNA test results are of great importance for the alleged father's as well as the child’s future and so there is no possibility for error. Also, the results may not be confidential as it can be opened by anyone who has access to the package. Due to these reasons, paternity tests by mail is not a good idea.
Photo:Salvatore Vuono

DNA Paternity Test Results

The results of every medical test today can have a wide range of inferences. Similarly, in a DNA paternity test, the result  will contain the complete DNA profile of the father.  The report will also show a combined parental Index and relationship probability of each person with the child  i.e. the paternity, maternity and grand parentage. The strength of the DNA paternity test result is also indicated  in the result. 

The result will be in the form of “inclusion” or “exclusion” giving a conclusive result. Whether the person, who is the alleged father, is excluded or not excluded from the paternity is the final result of this test.  A combined paternity index (CPI) is arrived by analyzing 15 genetic loci, each compared separately.  Each genetic locus is tested and arrived at this CPI.  The CPI analysis helps in getting the probability of paternity and this probability is arrived by comparing the genital population and common genetic information found in the analysis.

The CPI result could be up to 99.99% accurate, and this CPI and probability both will be mentioned in the result. 

An Inclusion means that the genetic markers match to a probability of 99% or more which means the person who is an alleged father is not excluded from being a biological father. Similarly an exclusion report gives probability of 0.00% (genetic markers do not match) of the person being excluded from being the biological father of the tested child.

A Review of Paternity Test Costs

At one time, not very long ago, paternity test costs were something that the average person would simply not be able to reasonably afford. Thanks to rapid advances in both the worlds of science and genetic testing, it's possible to determine paternity with nearly 100% accuracy for as little as a few hundred dollars, or less, and in as soon as one week's time.

In-Home Paternity Tests

Just a few years ago, in-home paternity tests were being sold for upwards of $500, but now, consumers have the luxury of having a DNA test conducted for less than one hundred dollars from some companies. There are several reputable companies working in conjunction with accredited laboratories who offer completely free paternity test kits to interested individuals. While the materials used to collect samples for testing are free, the actual DNA testing in the laboratory is not.

For a basic in-home paternity test done on three people, the child, mother, and alleged father, expect a cost of anywhere from $100 to $200 for regular service. Prices will double, or triple in some cases for expedited service which can be done in one business day.

Viability Paternity Testing

In the event an alleged father is unavailable for testing, missing, or even deceased, viability paternity testing is the process used to test DNA samples in which the typical means of collection aren't possible. For example, preserved samples of hair and blood or other tissue may be used to extract enough DNA markers to establish paternity, or, if none of these biological samples are available, testing his parents would be the next option.

For obvious reasons, this type of paternity testing is considerably more expensive than others. On average, a grandparentage test with the mother's sample is between $600 and $800, and when the mother is not known, the price will usually then increase by a few hundred dollars.

Legally Binding Paternity Tests

On average, legally binding paternity tests are more expensive than those done purely for curiosity's sake or personal knowledge. For a paternity test to be legally admissible in a court of law, a process known as the Chain of Custody must be followed to the letter. The Chain of Custody assures the court that the correct procedures were adhered to starting with the collection process and continuing on with the actual testing of the DNA.

Prenatal Paternity Tests

Since DNA is within our cells from conception, it isn't necessary to wait until after a baby is born to establish paternity as the results will be exactly the same in terms of probability and accuracy. If the pregnancy is a difficult one or the mother is having complications, it's always advisable to wait until after birth and proceed with a postnatal paternity test as the methods used are invasive procedures that do pose some risk to both the fetus and the mother.

Amniocentesis testing involves extracting a small amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus with a long needle to test the DNA in the cells within the fluid. This procedure is done between the 14th and 24th weeks of pregnancy. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be done even earlier on, during the 10th through 13th weeks, and also uses either a needle inserted into the abdomen to extract cells from the developing placenta, or the procedure can also be done vaginally.

The costs for a prenatal paternity test usually average around $500, with the additional doctor's fees in the $500 to $1,500 range, making this one of the most expensive types of paternity tests available today.
Photo:Francesco Marino

How to Get a Cheap Paternity Test

Paternity tests were at one time a mysterious procedure that had the potential of costing thousands of dollars to be completed. Today, the prices have dropped dramatically just within the last decade with in-home paternity test kits even available in drug stores in certain locations for less than $30. There are many companies who even offer completely free test kits that also include postage-paid mailers for returning the samples to the laboratory for processing, which is where the fees come in, that will vary by location, company, and also be dependent upon the type of procedures that are needed.

The first place to search for a cheap paternity test is online as there are numerous DNA testing companies that are associated with reputable and accredited laboratories with informative web sites that clearly outline their services. As each particular case is different, some with unique or extenuating circumstances, it's best to contact a DNA testing company or laboratory directly about specific prices for any involved or complicated situations.

Some at-home testing companies offer limited customer service, which is rather important when dealing matters as important as paternity. Before making your purchase, always be sure to find out what type of support is available, when, and via what medium.

What is DNA?
First discovered over 50 years ago, deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the essential molecule that is present within the cell's of all living beings. Through a thermal heating process using special chemical agents, DNA is extracted from the cells and genetic markers are detected on the strands of molecules that form the DNA. If enough of these markers do not match the sample from the child in question, paternity is ruled out and is not a possibility.

If more than half of the markers from the father's portion of the DNA do indeed match those of the child's, paternity can be established with 99.9999% accuracy if the mother has also been tested, which is the case the majority of the time. In other cases where there isn't enough conclusive evidence after testing once, additional types of testing can be done at an added cost.

Will a Cheap Paternity Test Be Accurate?

Even tests that are advertised for as little as $99 must go through the same process used to extract DNA from the cell, detect genetic markers and the DNA profile of the cell, and then determine if the samples collected are a match, or if the man in question couldn't possibly be the father. Exclusion is always 100% accurate, and many inexpensive or cheap paternity tests routinely boast impressive rates for establishing paternity within 99.9999% accuracy. If not enough genetic markers are a match, then the two people couldn't be related as they don’t share any of the same DNA.

Information Vs. Legally Binding Paternity Tests

Information paternity tests, or those done for curiosity's sake, are far less expensive than legally binding paternity tests. It's important to note that a cheap paternity test, while useful for peace of mind and personal knowledge, will not be admissible in a court of law without following what is known as the Chain of Custody.

A Chain of Custody is a set of procedures that must be followed in order to satisfy the legal requirements set forth by the judicial system. An impartial third party must be present in order to collect samples for legally binding paternity tests, which in turn, increases the overall cost but is worth the extra fees in order to use the results for instances such as child custody. Your attorney should have additional information about the Chain of Custody and what will be required in court.

What is DNA Genetic Testing?

Genetic Testing is the procedure undertaken to analyze and test human genes and the underlying DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and it is present in all human beings. This DNA is unique for every individual and so the results of genetic testing are used extensively in many fields. It is also used as a legal evidence in many cases.

So, how is this test done? Any person wishing to undergo a DNA test, gives his or her blood sample and the DNA is extracted from the white blood cells. It can also be done by taking a swab of saliva from the inner cheek. DNA samples can even be obtained from hair, skin and the amniotic fluid surrounding unborn babies in the womb. The DNA is analyzed to determine a person's ancestry or to diagnose any kind of genetic disease that the person may be vulnerable to.  It can also be used to identify the parent of a child.

The results of genetic testing are simple. They indicate whether a person has any changes in the gene or not. In the case of a paternity test, it indicates whether a person is the father of a child or not. Though the results are simple, the tests involved are quite advanced and require the assistance of qualified professionals.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why Establish Paternity - the Peace of Mind Paternity Test

You might be in a perfectly happy relationship with your significant other, and you may not even care if your child is biologically yours or not. While paternity certainly doesn’t always have an effect on your love for a child, it can have other benefits that you may not realize right away. In fact, a paternity test can  be considered the peace of mind paternity test.

If the child in question is not your child biologically, it means he or she has a medical history that is unknown to you. It’s important that this information is on hand incase of an emergency with the child and his or her or doctor needs to know. This is one of the most important reasons to be 100% sure who a child’s father is. If the child would end up needing blood, an organ, an operation, or another major medical procedure, this information is invaluable.

It’s also important to know for when the child becomes an adult. Everyone wants to know where they came from, and although that child may love you more than anything else in the world, he or she may want to know who their biological father is. That said, you could find out that you’re the father of the child and then there are no worries.

Knowing who a child’s father is for sure will give the whole family peace of mind, and can prevent issues from arising later on in the child’s life. Talk to your partner about getting a paternity test done. In the end, you’ll probably both agree that it’s the best idea.