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Prenatal

There are only a few well-established options for obtaining a paternity test before a baby is born. Technically there are three samples that need to be obtained: a sample from the alleged father (AF), a sample of the mother (M) and a sample of the child while in utero. The samples from the AF and M are easy, just non-invasive cheek swabs. For the child, there are basically two options, depending on the choice of the mother, her physician and the timing.

Updated: Jan 31 2020

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Your Options

Chorionic Villus Sampling

Option 1: CVS

A small sample of a specific region of the placenta is removed by aspiration; the procedure is followed by ultrasound and must be performed by a physician/obstetrician. The doctor may suggest this procedure to detect if your baby has a higher risk of birth defects. Usually, CVS is performed between weeks 10 and 13 of the pregnancy. Should you require this procedure, then the sample can be sent to the laboratory and the DNA profile that is obtained is compared with the DNA profiles of the AF and M – just like any other paternity test.

Amniocentesis

Option 2

A sample of the amniotic fluid is aspirated, followed by ultrasound and must be performed by a physician/obstetrician. The doctor may suggest this procedure to detect if your baby has a higher risk of birth defects. Usually, amniocentesis is performed between weeks 14 and 19 of the pregnancy. Should you require this procedure, then the sample can be sent to the laboratory and the DNA profile that is obtained is compared with the DNA profiles of the AF and M – just like any other paternity test.

Doctor's Procedure

There are many good websites that describe these medical procedures in detail, WebMD, CDC, etc. Please consult your physician for a thorough discussion of the risks, benefits, issues, and costs of CVS and amniocentesis.

Chorionic Villus Sampling

CVS

"Doctors do the CVS test two different ways. Using ultrasound to guide the way, your doctor may insert a small needle into your belly to take a sample of cells from the placenta. Or, your doctor may insert a thin plastic tube through your vagina to get a sample from the placenta. The test can be uncomfortable, but only lasts about 10 minutes." - WebMD

Amniocentesis

"First, the doctor uses ultrasound to locate your baby and pockets of amniotic fluid. Then, the doctor inserts a small needle into your belly to take a sample of amniotic fluid, taking care to keep the needle away from your floating baby. Getting the sample takes about 10 minutes. The test shouldn't hurt, but you will feel some pressure." - WebMD

Conclusion

A prenatal paternity test is a personal decision and one that possibly comes with societal ethical and moral dilemmas attached. For this reason, it is critical to have a solid foundation of information about the options, risks, and costs a prenatal paternity test can have on the mother and the baby. We strongly recommend talking to your doctor. Please do not hesitate to call our office for any additional information on the details of prenatal paternity testing.

Risks

Both CVS and amniocentesis are considered invasive procedures and thus they carry a small, but measurable risk of miscarriage or injury to the baby – usually quoted at or about 1% (one percent). For this reason, most doctors hesitate to perform it for paternity reasons alone. Both of these procedures are most often conducted to identify birth defects and disorders.

Basic Costs

Laboratory costs for prenatal paternity testing are higher than routine paternity tests. Please call for details 1.708.234.1200.

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