Discovering whether you are the father of a child is ultimately via a Paternity Test - which uses a sample of your DNA. You can do this either via a cheek swab or by spit. Find out more with our simple guide to what's involved and what it means.
What Is Paternity Testing?
Paternity testing is to prove who is the biological father of a child.
Why Would You Take A Paternity Test?
You may need to for legal and immigration reasons or because you want to know if you are the biological father of a child.
What Is the Difference between a Home and Legal Paternity Test?
A home paternity test cannot be used in a UK court to prove you are the father of a child. A legal test can be used in court.
What Is A legal paternity test?
A legal paternity test is when the sample used is taken by a medical person or lab technician and is under a strict chain of custody protocol. Some home DNA test providers do offer legal paternity tests.
What Is An Immigration DNA Test?
This is a legal paternity test to support an immigration request.
Is Paternity Testing Available On the NHS?
No, paternity testing is not available on the NHS.
How Does Paternity Testing Work?
For a paternity test you need a DNA sample from the child and the male adult. A child inherits half their DNA from their father and half from their mother. On DNA there are repeated sequences that are individual to each person, these are short tandem repeats. To be a match the repeats in the child’s DNA must be matched by the repeats in the father’s DNA.
How Accurate is Paternity Testing?
99.999% accurate. Proof of non-parentage is 100%accurate.
What Type Of Sample is Used?
The sample is usually from cells inside the mouth.
Why Do Some Paternity Test Providers Want To Test the Mother?
A paternity test looks for the same genetic markers in the sample of the child and the male adult. But sometimes there are mutations which lead to inconclusive results. Having a sample from the mother strengthens the test.
What Other Types Of Relationship Testing Are There?
Mother, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents.
What Is the Human Tissue Act In the UK?
The human tissue act means that any sample used in this type of test has to be given with consent. Consent must also be given to how the sample is then used.
What Should You Consider When Buying A Paternity Test?
First of all it is important to be aware that you may not get the result that you want. If this is possible you may want to get counselling after you have the results. Choose a reputable company with experience in this field. Make sure they evaluate more than 20 genetic markers. If you need an answer quickly then find out the timescales for results. Some test providers can tell you within 3-5 days. You may not be living with your child so you may want to ensure that the test provider can test two people who live at different addresses, even different countries.
If you need a legal test then do make sure it is just that, and not a home test which will not have any legal validity. When using a legal test make sure that the laboratory used is approved by the UK Home Office and listed by the Ministry of Justice.