How does paternity testing work?
When undergoing paternity testing, swabs of cheek cells are taken from inside the mouth of each person tested. These are then analysed and treated to release the DNA from the cells. The patterns in the DNA of the mother and alleged father are compared with the child’s to see if a relationship exists.
How accurate is paternity testing?
If done correctly, paternity testing is 99.999% accurate in determining if someone is the father of the child in question, and 100% accurate in determining if they are not. Most paternity tests involve at least 16 individual tests of the DNA to provide increased accuracy.
How are the samples obtained?
The method of obtaining samples is easy and pain free. As DNA is contained in almost all cells of the body, there is no need to take a blood sample. Instead, a swab is taken from the inside cheek of the person being tested. Loose cells are picked up on the swab and these are then sent in for analysis in a laboratory. If you want the paternity test purely for your own personal knowledge, then the sample can be collected in the comfort of your own home. If however, you want the test for legal reasons (such as child maintenance), then the sample must be taken by a doctor and proof of identity provided.
Who is involved in paternity testing?
The mother does not need to be involved, but if she is tested the results will be processed more quickly. By having access to the biological mother’s genetic code half of the DNA can be eliminated immediately, making the father’s contribution more evident.
Can the results be used as evidence in court?
The legal requirements of paternity cases vary greatly from place to place so check what you need before undertaking the test. For the test results to hold up in a court of law a doctor will be required to collect the sample. You will also have to provide additional personal information (such as fingerprints and photographs) to confirm your identity. The results of a home sampling kit are just as accurate, but are strictly for personal assurance.