Testing for Paternity

If you have had more than one partner, it is natural for you to want to know who the father of your baby is. There are different reasons to establish paternity. You may feel the need to collect support financially or emotionally, or simply for the piece of mind that accompanies knowing for sure. If you are reading this, it may be that you are unsure who the father of your child is. Paternity testing costs between $450.00 and $2,000.00, depending on the area which you live in and the center or lab you work with. Results are usually given in 14 business days or less. Below is a list of things to consider if you are contemplating whether to have paternity testing done.

Paternity Testing:

  • Postnatal (after your child’s birth) DNA testing:
    1. Blood collection and testing
    2. Buccal swab (cheek swab) collection and testing
    3. Umbilical cord collection and testing
    4. Other sample collection and testing (semen, tissue, hair, etc.)
  • Prenatal (before your child’s birth) DNA testing:
    1. Amniocentesis- This test is performed in the second trimester. During this procedure, the doctor uses ultrasound to guide a thin needle into your uterus, through your abdomen. The needle draws out a small amount of amniotic fluid, which is tested. Risks include a small chance of harming the baby and miscarriage. Other side effects may include cramping, leaking amniotic fluid, and vaginal bleeding.
    2. Chrionic Villus Sampling (CVS)- This test consists of a thin needle or tube which a doctor inserts from the vagina, through the cervix, guided by an ultrasound, to obtain chrionic villi. Chrionic villi are little finger like pieces of tissue attached to the wall of the uterus. The chrionic villi and the fetus come from the same fertilized egg, and have the same genetic makeup.
  • If paternity testing is needed for the collection of due child support, it can be ordered through your State Attorney General’s office.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Special Care,” Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth. 3rd Ed. 2002.

Last updated: 12/2006