Paternity is the legal and biological relationship between a father and his child. The only way to determine if there is a biological connection between two people is to compare whether there are similarities in their DNA. DNA testing is a process where scientists compare the DNA of the alleged father to that of the child. If the DNA of the alleged father matches that of the child, he is likely the biological father. In the past, people who wanted to perform a DNA paternity test had to go to a laboratory. Today, laboratories sell kits that people can buy on the Internet. Once they receive the kit at home, people take saliva samples from the alleged father and his alleged child and send them back to the lab for testing. There are also legally valid paternity tests, but these require that the samples be taken by authorized personnel.
Why are paternity tests results not always 100% accurate?
Paternity tests are a reliable way to determine the biological relationship between a father and a child, but they do not always reach 100% accuracy. This is because a small percentage of a person’s DNA, called non-paternity markers, is inherited from both parents and is not unique to the father. These markers can be shared by multiple people and can lead to a false positive or false negative result. Additionally, if the alleged father is not genetically related to the child, no amount of testing will establish a 100% match. To reach 100% accuracy in a paternity test, it is necessary to have a sample from the alleged father, the mother, and the child. By comparing the DNA of all three individuals, the lab can confirm or exclude the alleged father as the biological father with near certainty.
Types of paternity tests
One of the most popular paternity tests today is the one you can buy online. While it is only a kit to collect samples and not a test itself, it allows people to get results without wasting time going to the lab in person. Another type of test is the legal paternity test, which is used in a court of law to establish paternity for legal purposes such as child support or inheritance. Prenatal paternity tests can be done before birth through CVS or amniocentesis, providing results early in pregnancy. Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP) uses a blood sample from the mother and the alleged father, analyzing DNA in the mother’s blood to determine paternity. NIPP is safe and accurate and can be done as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy.