We all receive half our genetic information from our mother and half from our father, and this genetic information is used in paternity tests to determine whether a man is the biological father of a child. DNA is a chemical substance found in most cells of the human body and it stores information that we pass down. This is how we pass on our genetic characteristics, including what we look like, to the next generation.
Who takes part in the test?
For 99.999% accuracy, the alleged father, the mother and the child must all take part in the test. Accuracy can vary slightly due to genetic background and originals of individuals tested, but testing all three individuals will give the most accurate results. If the mother is not tested, the results will not be as accurate; they will only have 99.99% certainty. The mother is requiredy to take part for CSA purposes.
All participants will be given consent forms alongside the sampling kit. The consent of someone with Parental Responsibility of the child is always required for the child to take part if the child is under the age of 16. This could be a parent or a local authority representative. All individuals are entitled to withdraw their consent at any time during the DNA testing process.
What does the test entail?
Taking a DNA sample is a quick and painless procedure. A cotton swab is run along the inside of the cheeks to collect cheek cells. Care must be taken not to contaminate the samples, so the sample is usually collected by DNA testing centre staff or by a registered sampler.
How long does the test take?
It generally takes around 5 to 7 working days before the results of a DNA test are ready. If you choose a company like Dadcheckgold, you can track the progress of your test while your results are under examination.
How certain are the results?
Half the DNA fragments in the child’s STR profiles come from the mother and half come from the father. This means, if the child’s STR profile contains some fragments that can’t be matched to the alleged father, he can be ruled out. A DNA test can prove with 100% certainty that a man is not the father of a child. However, a test cannot prove with 100% certainty if the man tested is a father of the child, but it can prove with 99.999% certainty.
How will I be told the results?
You will receive a written report, detailing the results of your DNA test. All persons tested are entitled to a copy of the test results.
Paternity testing can be used to resolve issues of parentage and family disputes. Prenatal paternity tests can also be used to determine if a man ifsthe father of the child, while the mother is still pregnant. For more information about prenatal paternity tests, read this useful guide by the NHS.