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Top 5 Questions to Ask Before A Paternity Test

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Although paternity testing has now become a standard way to determine if someone is or is not the father of a child, there are many doubts about how it all works. With that in mind, here are some researched answers to commonly asked questions.

  • What type of test kit is the best?

Since there are so many test-kits now available for DNA testing in the marketplace, it can be hard to decide which one to use. The best way to make a decision is to do research on the manufacturer. If, as an example, you were to use YourDNA, you would find many online resources to learn more about the company and their paternity test kits.

  •  How accurate are paternity tests?

Although paternity testing has developed a reputation for accuracy, it is still technically possible for an occasional error to occur. Unfortunately, when this does happen, those concerned may never realize that an error has been made.

There are two ways to eliminate errors, even if they are unlikely to occur:

The alleged father and the child can have their DNA tested in three independent locations. If even one location shows a negative result, then the man is not the father. While a positive result could be due to an error, a negative result is conclusive.

The most accurate tests are those that use tissue or blood samples from the alleged father, the mother, and the child. The accuracy ranges from 90 to 99 percent.

  • What is the highest level of accuracy possible?

If your test comes back as 99.99 probability, it means that the accuracy is between 99 percent to 99.9999 percent. It is not possible to get 100 percent, because an absolutely perfect criterion is not used in DNA testing. If the result is a 99.99 probability, the chances that a man is the biological father is about as certain as you can get.

  • Is it possible to not know if the tester is the father?

Although a negative result shows that a man is not the father and a positive result shows that a man is probably the father, it is possible for a man to not know either way. 15 markers are used to determine results. While most tests show either “not excluded,” which means “yes,” or “excluded,” which means “no,” it is also possible to get another answer: “inconclusive.” An inconclusive result is due to one of two reasons: the sample did not have a high enough level of DNA or the father and child’s DNA is not unique enough to match them up. Both problems—insufficient DNA in the sample or insufficient DNA uniqueness—can be resolved by also getting the mother’s DNA. With more variables to work with, the medical technologists will be able to get to a “not excluded” or an “excluded” determination.

  • Is a mother able to get a DNA test done while she is still pregnant?

A DNA test requires a comparison between the child’s DNA and the father’s DNA. This can pose a problem, then, if the child has not yet been born and is still a fetus in the womb. Technically, it is still possible to get enough of a DNA sample from the child but it is not recommended. The child’s DNA can be obtained through chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, but both are invasive procedures, which carries the risk of a miscarriage. For this reason, if though the risk is a small one, it is not recommended by the medical profession.

The answers to these common questions are useful to know before taking a paternity test.

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