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Molecular Tests

DNA paternity testing is the use of DNA profiling (known as genetic fingerprinting) to determine whether two individuals are biologically parent and child. A paternity test establishes genetic proof whether a man is the biological father of an individual, and a maternity test establishes whether a woman is the biological mother of an individual. Tests can also determine the likelihood of someone being a biological grandparent to a grandchild. Though genetic testing is the most reliable standard, older methods also exist, including ABO blood group typing, analysis of various other proteins and enzymes, or using human leukocyte antigen antigens. The current techniques for paternity testing are using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Paternity testing can now also be performed while the woman is still pregnant from a blood draw.

DNA testing is currently the most advanced and accurate technology to determine parentage. In a DNA parentage test, the result (called the 'probability of parentage)] is 0% when the alleged parent is not biologically related to the child and the probability of parentage is typically 99.99% when the alleged parent is biologically related to the child. However, while almost all individuals have a single and distinct set of genes, rare individuals, known as "chimeras", have at least two different sets of genes, which can result in a false negative result if their reproductive tissue has a different genetic make-up from the tissue sampled for the test

Health Tips 

Can I get a paternity test before the baby is born?

Yes! Paternity can be established before the baby is born using a prenatal paternity test. DDC’s prenatal paternity test now makes it possible to get accurate answers while pregnant in a safer way than ever before. DDC offers a variety of testing options, with payment plans. Each situation is unique, but testing can be arranged to fit your specific needs. We encourage you to call one of our paternity experts for a brief, confidential consultation at 1-800-681-7162

Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?

Yes. If the mom can not, or does not want to be tested, we can perform a paternity test. A “motherless” test could require more extensive analysis to produce conclusive results, but the results are just as accurate as those of a standard paternity test.

DDC encourages mothers to participate in paternity testing for the following reasons:

Mothers who participate are guaranteed to receive a copy of the test results. Due to DDC’s strict confidentiality policy, we are only able to release results to those tested, their authorized representatives (such as an attorney), or the tested child’s legal custodian.
Some courts require the mother to participate in a paternity test.

Can a paternity test be performed if the father is missing or deceased?

Several testing options are available in situations where the father is missing or deceased. DDC specializes in finding alternative family members to test to determine the true biological father.

Other tests include:

Grandparent test
Sibling test
Aunt/Uncle test
Family Reconstruction

There are two possible fathers, and they are related. Is this a problem?

If two possible fathers are related as full brothers or father and son, they may share many of the DNA markers used in paternity testing. This means that if the laboratory is not aware of these relationships, both men could test positive as the child’s biological father. DNA testing is strong enough to determine paternity in a case involving related fathers, but the laboratory must be made aware of these situations before the testing process begins.

DDC offers two options for cases involving possible fathers who are related:

Option 1: Test both fathers, the child, and the mother at the same time. By comparing both fathers’ DNA profiles with the child’s DNA profile, our expert laboratory staff can achieve accurate and conclusive test results. There is an added fee for the additional father.

Option 2: Test one father with extended analysis. This option can be taken when only one of the fathers is available for testing. To produce a conclusive result, we must perform extended testing and statistical analysis. There is an additional fee for the extended testing and analysis.

Do I need a doctor’s order or a court order to start a paternity test?

No, anyone can take a DNA paternity test without a physician’s request or court order. However, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) only allows clinical laboratories to examine specimens at the request of licensed physicians or other persons authorized by law to use the test results in their practice or in the performance of their official duties. If you are a resident of New York, please call 1-800-681-7162 for assistance.

Will you protect my privacy?

We take our patients’ privacy very seriously, and we have the strict confidentiality policy to prove it.

We will not release any information about your case to anyone without your authorization.
We will always follow any special instructions you give us for communicating with you or other parties involved in your test.
We never release test results over the phone.

How will I receive my results?

Results can be viewed online through our website. Most clients log on to see their results, as it’s the fastest way to get the answer.

First-class mail is our primary method of sending printed paternity test results. Legal results are notarized and stamped, and only the original printed report is considered a legal document. To protect our patients’ privacy, we send the results in a plain envelope that is not marked with our company name or logo.

What do the results look like, and how do I interpret them?

We follow all paternity-test guidelines for the language used in the report. For this reason, your paternity test results will say whether the alleged father IS EXCLUDED or IS NOT EXCLUDED as the biological father of the child tested.

IS EXCLUDED: Means that he cannot be the father because testing determined that he and the child do not share a biological parent/child relationship.

IS NOT EXCLUDED: Means that he is considered to be the biological father because testing determined that he and the child do share a biological parent/child relationship.

A paternity test result includes a table that lists:

The allele sizes of the different DNA markers examined and used in the statistical analysis portion of the test (i.e., the DNA profile)
A Probability of Paternity value
A Combined Paternity Index (CPI) value
You will want to focus on the Probability of Paternity. A result of 0% means the alleged father is not the biological father; a result of 99.99% or higher means the alleged father is the biological father. The CPI value represents the odds against another random, untested male in the population having the same results as the tested man.

What happens if the tested parties live in different cities or states?

We can schedule separate appointments for any or all of the participants in a paternity test, usually at no additional charge.

What types of samples do you use?

The samples we test are buccal swabs, or cheek swabs. Buccal swabbing is a quick and painless procedure that involves rubbing a cotton-like swab against the inside of the patient’s cheek.

We can test a number of other types of samples as well.

In a prenatal paternity test, for example, we will examine a blood sample collected from the Mother.
In a case involving a deceased individual, we can test a blood or tissue sample that has been stored at the coroner’s or medical examiner’s office. However, we first need to perform a viability test on the sample to make sure it contains sufficient DNA for testing.

What will happen at the sample collection appointment?

When you arrive at your appointment, you will need to present proper identification, which the sample collector will verify and photocopy.

After you are properly identified, you will need to sign a form giving your consent for the test. If you are the legal custodian of a tested minor, you will have to sign the form on behalf of the child.

The collector will collect your DNA samples using simple buccal swabs—cotton-like swabs that he or she will rub against the inside of your cheek to gather loose cheek cells. The collector will then send all the samples to our laboratory.

Our collection process is designed to be convenient, simple, and painless!

Is there a minimum age for collecting a DNA sample?

No. Because DNA is set at conception and generally does not change, a paternity test can be performed on a person of any age—even on a sample from an unborn child (through prenatal testing). At birth, blood from the umbilical cord can be taken for use as a DNA sample source, or a buccal swab can be collected from the mouth of a newborn.

What is the preferred sample collection method for DNA paternity testing?

Buccal swabs are the most common source of biological samples for Paternity relationship testing using DNA test methods. According to the most recent Annual Report from the AABB for accredited Relationship Testing Laboratories, over 99.9% of DNA samples reported are buccal swabs.

For paternity testing while pregnant, the mother needs to only provide a blood sample.

Why are DNA buccal swabs preferred?

Cheek swabs ensure this sample collection process is quick & painless.
The DNA isolated from the cheek cells is viable for an extended time if stored properly—longer than blood. After collection, cheek swabs do not require refrigeration, but should be thoroughly air-dried prior to packaging and shipment to the laboratory.
It is actually easier to extract DNA from buccal swabs than blood.
Patients are more willing to undergo a buccal swab sample collection than a blood collection.
Buccal swab samples are easier to collect, and therefore do not require specialized training like a phlebotomist for a blood collection.

Is there a difference in accuracy between buccal swabs and blood?

No. DNA is the same in every cell of a person’s body, regardless of whether it is a blood cell or buccal cell. It has been demonstrated that DNA from a blood or buccal swab sample from the same person produces identical paternity test results.

Is it necessary to have all the sample types be the same when doing a paternity test?

No. If a buccal cell sample cannot be collected from all of the individuals participating in a test, that is okay. DNA paternity testing can be performed on a wide range of samples and not all parties participating in the test have to have the same sample type.

What is a prenatal paternity test?

A prenatal paternity test establishes paternity while pregnant. DDC’s Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test using the SNP microarray method is the most accurate test available—and with a test this important, accuracy is number one.

Why should I establish paternity?

A main reason is to determine the father of a child as early as possible, perhaps even before the baby is born. More complex reasons may include access to legal and social benefits, establishing accurate medical histories, and perhaps simply to strengthen the family bond, particularly between a father and child.

How does a prenatal paternity test work?

The DDC Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test is the most accurate non-invasive way to determine paternity before a baby’s birth. The DDC process is state-of-the-art, combining the latest in DNA SNP microarray technology and paternity determining algorithms. The baby’s DNA found naturally in the mother’s bloodstream. The test requires a blood sample from the mother, then with our unique processing, the baby’s DNA is separated from the mothers, and compared to the DNA taken from the possible father. A report is then produced.

What does non-invasive mean?

A non-invasive paternity test utilizes fetal DNA isolated from the mother’s blood. The blood is drawn from the mothers arm, and replaces invasive methods such as the amniocentesis, where a large needle is inserted into the pregnant mother’s abdomen to collect amniotic fluid for testing. Amniocentesis is an “invasive” method.

As a fetus develops in the womb, it’s cells become evident in the mother’s amniotic fluid, as well as in the mother’s blood stream. A non-invasive prenatal paternity test isolates the fetus cells from the mother’s cells. The fetus cells contain DNA, and this DNA is then compared to the father’s DNA to establish paternity.

How accurate is a non-invasive prenatal paternity test?

we provide at least a 99.9% probability on prenatal paternity tests.

There have been many studies to confirm the accuracy of non-invasive testing for paternity. One such study, as reported in the New England of Medicine, tested 30 blood samples from biologic mothers and fathers (the fathers were grouped with unrelated men, for the sake of the test). In every case the researchers were able to correctly identify paternity.