It is not uncommon for people to want to establish paternity before the birth of the child. In such cases prenatal paternity testing can easily solve the issue. You may want to read a bit more about this kind of test to fully understand it and moreover, learn about more recent prenatal tests that are risk free.

Risk Free Prenatal Paternity Testing

There is today a prenatal paternity test that is totally risk free- this means that the mother and the unborn baby are in no way endangered by the DNA sampling. This type of test is a blood-based test. A blood withdrawal from the mother is required for laboratory analysis. From maternal blood, scientists can extract the fetal DNA and from that DNA they can establish the paternity of the child by companring the unborn child’s DNA with that of an alleged father. This type of prenatal test is complex and different to standard paternity testing after birth. Single Nucleotide polymorphisms are analysed and the number of genetic markers is tens of thousands.

Paternity testing: amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a well-known procedure and was mostly carried out to detect genetic illnesses; however, this type of prenatal paternity test can also be used to solve paternity issues. The test is done under local aneasthetic. A needle is needed to puncture the abdomen and draw out amniotic fluid from the sac with envelopes the fetus. In order to puncture the correct place the doctor is guided by an untrasound.

Although the incidence of miscarriage is very low following amniocentesis, the risk is nevertheless there. Other consequences may be vaginal bleeding and infection.

In such a test it is important to have a DNA sample from the mother. This is because the amniotic fluid will provide a mixed DNA profile as it contains the baby’s DNA and the mother’s; having the mother’s sample will clarfy which DNA belongs to the child.

Paternity testing: chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

This procedure can be used for your prenatal paternity test and allows the possibility of being carried out earlier in the pregnancy. A doctor enters through the vagina to gather a sample of the chorionic villi which are protrusions involved in the exchange of blood between mother and baby. Again there are certain risks including miscarriage.

Ethical implications of prenatal paternity testing

Once you receive the results informing you about the paternity of the child, what then? So the child’s father is not who you hope it would be? Do you terminate the pregnancy? In terms of abnormalities in the baby, if you find out the unborn child will not be normal? It is a complex issue that has sparked much debate as has the minor risks associated with these invasive procedures.

Prenatal paternity tests: Is it a case of better now than later?

Securing the rights of a child is crucial. Any child, depending on the country, is entitled to certain social benefits and legal security. Moreover, there are also issues of citizenship as well as inheritance laws. Essentially, however, the reasons for carrying out a pre-natal paternity test as opposed to a post natal test a few months after are personal and often involve the need to reduce anxiety and solve the paternity issue as soon as possible in order to plan and think things through.

One must weigh all the pros and cons, the fact that they will likely need a doctor’s consent, the possible after effects, the ethical debates, the cost and the baby and then decide whether to do prenatal paternity testing or not.