General Prenatal Testing Information

1. What is a Prenatal DNA Paternity test?

A DNA Paternity test is used to confirm biological relationships between a parent (father or mother) and a child. A normal paternity test is performed post partum that is any time after the child is born. A prenatal test is performed during pregnancy, to determine the paternity of the child before he or she is born. It is an option for those who do not wish to wait until the baby is born to determine paternity.

Whilst the result of the paternity test will not change whether it is a prenatal or normal test, the difference is in the samples used for the testing. Nowadays, it is standard in normal DNA paternity tests to be carried out through oral swabs that are rubbed on the inside of the cheek to collect cells containing the DNA. It is relatively painless and
straightforward procedure.

In a prenatal test instead, the test on the child is carried out through samples taken from the pregnant mother. There are two ways to perform the test which are either through Amniocentisis which is the process of obtaining sample of the fluid surrounding the womb (known as amniotic fluid) or else through Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS) which is the process of obtaining cells from the placenta surface.

In both cases, the health care provider will use the ultrasound for guidance. The provider may insert a thin tube through the cervix. Or he or she may insert a thin needle through the wall of the belly into the amniotic sac. With both methods, the objective is to take a small tissue sample from the outside of the sac inside of which the baby is growing.
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2. Are there risks involved with these tests?

In cases with normal DNA Paternity testing there is no risk at all.In prenatal testing case, where the specialist is experienced, CVS and amniocentesis carry relatively the same risk as that of miscarriage(1 in 200 or less). Results of some studies suggest that in a small number of cases, CVS may cause defects in the infant’s fingers or toes.However,this only appears to occur if the test is done before the 9th week of pregnancy. We strongly recommend that you discusswith your specialist about the various risks that are associated with amniocentesis and CVS. Click here for more about invasive prenatal testing methods.
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3. When are the tests performed?

As a rough guide, CVS is usually recommended to be performed between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy. Amniocentesis is usually performed between the 12th and 21st week of pregnancy. We strongly recommend that you discuss this in more detail with your specialist.
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4. Consulting your OB/GYN

It is best to start by contacting your personal Obstetrician and/or Gynaecologist to discuss the various implications of the procedure.If the decision is taken to go ahead, the specialist will collect the prenatal samples (CVS or amniotic fluid) and send it straight away to the laboratory you have chosen to perform the DNA paternity test. It is highly recommended that you contact the selected laboratory in advance and obtain the kit necessary to send the sample or alternatively instruct the laboratory to send the kit directly to your OB/GYN. You will probably need to pay separate fees from the cost of the paternity test for the qualified physician to perform the procedure. The fee structure will vary from specialist to another and from country to another.

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5. Legally Valid Test

If you want the test to be legally valid, ensure that the test is performed using a Chain of Custody procedure, this is a documentationprocess that makes the test results legally admissible in court (i.e. accepted by courts and other government agencies).

You will probably be asked to do the following:

• Present government-issued identification for the adults
participating in the test;
• Present some documentation for the minors: birth certificate,
social security card, crib card, or shot record;
• Provide photographic evidence;
• Complete the necessary Client Identification and Consent
Form (the minor’s consent form needs to be signed by the
legal guardian)
The OB-GYN will also need to sign the Chain of Custody form to
verify that he has followed all the necessary protocols in collecting
the prenatal sample from the mother.

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6. Alternative Option

An alternative solution to the use of a prenatal test is the normalDNA paternity testing performed at birth. It is possible to safelycollect buccal swab samples from a newborn. Only a small amountof DNA is required to perform the test. This option is often chosen if the clients cannot afford the OB-GYN fees required for prenatal testing or else they do not want to undertake any invasive procedures.

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