What to Know About Home Paternity Tests

Excluding surrogate pregnancies, it’s typically very easy to identify who the mother of a given child is. This, however, is not always the case with fathers, and for those who are uncertain, DNA paternity testing makes certain of that answer. Even with these tests, men are inaccurately identified as biological fathers around 5-20% of the time, so it is extremely important to consider the best possible options available for paternity testing. The “dad role” can be played by anyone willing, but when it comes to legal and biological circumstances, a reliable and accurate paternity test is certainly the only way to go. 

Here is everything that you need to know about paternity testing with a particular emphasis on at-home paternity testing. This “do-it-yourself” option is becoming a popular alternative to traditional court or hospital ordered tests, as it allows parents to get the results they seek from the comfort of their own homes. Find out more info about paternity tests.

Paternity Testing Explained 

Before we look at the benefits and reasons for at-home paternity testing, let’s start with the basics and define what exactly paternity testing is. Today, thanks to the help of modern science, paternity testing is a quick and easy process of genetic identification. Using cheek swabs as samples of DNA for paternity relationship testing in the lab, modern paternity tests carry out a careful, scientific procedure aimed at determining, on a genetic level, the dynamic that exists between a man and child. 

To determine if a paternal relationship exists, DNA paternity testing makes use of markers, which are genes coded for specific qualities. By comparing these characteristics, the relatedness that exists between two people can be determined. Analyzing these genetic codes makes it possible to determine how closely the man and the child are related. 

Why Take A Paternity Test?

People are interested in paternity testing for many different reasons, but most boil down to either personal or legal reasons. Personal motivations for paternity testing often have to do with the desire to know who the father of one’s child is when it is unclear to the mother. If a woman has had more than one sexual partner, she may not be certain of who the biological father is, and therefore, desires to establish peace of mind by figuring out who exactly the biological father of her child is. Other reasons pertain to some fathers, who may also feel uncertain as to whether or not they are the father of the respective child, thus, paternity testing relieves them of this uncertainty as well. 

Legally, paternity tests are executed to secure custody and child support needs. Many are directed by hospitals or are ordered by the court. Paternity tests may also be conducted when a father wants to obtain custody or parental responsibility, most often when the two parents are at odds in terms of what is best for the child’s life. Additionally, fathers or mothers who deny that they are the biological father can also be brought to court to resolve the predicament using a paternity test. If the father is found to be the biological father, then the case management can determine the father’s child support payments. 

There are currently two forms of paternity testing: at-home testing and legal paternity tests. 

Home DNA Paternity Test

Home DNA paternity tests are not ordered by a court and require that the DNA samples be gathered by the individuals at home. The samples are sent to a lab directly with results returned to them in a number of days. Most at-home options estimate a turnaround time that is between three and five business days. 

Results of the test are typically broken down into two categories: 1). The man and the child share no paternity relationship, excluding the man as the father, or, 2). The man and the child share a paternity relationship, rendering the man the biological father of the child. 

It is easy to conduct an at-home paternity test as kits can be purchased either online or at the local pharmacy. Since the markers used in court-ordered tests are the same ones used in the at-home kits, the accuracy of paternity testing is less of a concern, so long as you are purchasing a kit that shows its certification. 

Things To Consider 

The process of going through paternity testing and coming to terms with the results can be a highly emotional process for those involved, therefore, a considerable amount of research should go into the purchasing options, as not all paternity tests are created equal, and some, especially those with proper accreditation, are more accurate than others. There is a 99.9999% accuracy for the testing because assessing the entire Humane Genome is not part of the testing process. To go that route would be both expensive and time-consuming. 

Other considerations should include what the best scenario is for the child involved. Depending on the age of the child, learning of a biological father may cause detrimental effects on previously established relationships with pseudo father figures that are already in the child’s life. If the child believes that a pseudo attachment is his biological father and then finds out that he is not, this could also cause emotional turbulence that may not be necessary to bring about, depending on the situation. If you are concerned about the effect that the results may have on the child, it may be best to conduct an at-home test to keep things as private as possible. Additionally, not all mothers want to obtain financial support from the biological father, so refraining from going the legal route may be a smart choice for those situations as well. 

At the same time, if child support and custody issues are preventing the child from living their best life, it may be worth pursuing an official, court-ordered paternity test. Everyone’s situation is different, and it is nice to know that parents have options that they can consider to make the choices that are the best for them. 

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