Paternity Testing Before a Baby is Born

Prenatal Paternity Testing

Prenatal means existing or occurring before birth. Prenatal DNA testing is usually not a good idea due to the potential harm to the mother and child. There are two ways to accomplish prenatal testing.

  1. Test amniotic cells for the child’s specimen. The mother’s OB/GYN can perform amniocentesis, to extract amniotic fluid. The fluid is then sent to a laboratory to test. The amniocentesis presents medical risks to the mother and the child. You should discuss those risks with your doctor. Because of those risks, most doctors prefer not to perform an amniocentesis unless there are medical reasons requiring the procedure. If the mother is going to have amniocentesis for medical reasons, then there is no reason not to perform the paternity test. Otherwise, it is better to wait until the baby is born to perform the paternity test.
  2. Test the Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). This method of testing has significant risk (including birth defects) and should never be used for the sole purpose of paternity testing. If CVS is going to be performed for medical reasons, then it can also be used for paternity testing.

If prenatal testing is required and ordered, the kit will include collection swabs for the mother’s and the alleged father’s sample. This price does not include the OB/GYN’s fees, which are handled by the customer or the customer’s insurance company.



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LORD MANSFIELD’S RULE -- Most states still have Lord Mansfield’s Rule on the books, a British law created in 1777 that defines a child born into a marriage to be a product of that marriage. Specifically, Lord Mansfield’s Rule bars the mother of the child, and her legal husband at the time the child was conceived or born, from giving testimony that might prove that the child is illegitimate, i.e., that the child is the natural child of a man other than the husband. Five states have abolished this rule. It is still on the law books of the other 45 states.

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