It is indeed possible to determine paternity during pregnancy. Prenatal paternity testing uses testing of the baby’s DNA to match it against the potential father’s DNA. There are different things that can be done during pregnancy to determine paternity. The type of test given is determined, in part, by how far along you are in your pregnancy.
During the early part of your pregnancy, between the 10th and the 13th week of pregnancy, a CVS or chorionic villus sampling, can be done to determine paternity. In this procedure, a thin tube or a needle is inserted into the vagina, through the cervix, to try to obtain small pieces of tissue that are attached to the wall of the uterus, known as chorionic villi. The chorionic villi come from the same fertilized egg that produced the fetus, and therefore will have the same genetic makeup as your baby will have.
Between the 14th and the 20th weeks of pregnancy, paternity can be determined through the use of amniocentesis. This is the same test that may be given if your health care provider believes that your baby may have a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down’s Syndrome. During an amniocentesis, the health care provider uses an ultrasound machine to help him as he guides a thin needle into the uterus through the abdomen. The needle will draw just a small amount of amniotic fluid. The amniotic fluid can then be tested for DNA. An amniocentesis does bring with it certain risks. An amniocentesis may contribute to a chance for miscarriage, leaking of amniotic fluid, vaginal bleeding, or cramping.
Paternity laws vary from state to state. In many states, if a woman is married, her husband is legally the father regardless of what a paternity test might show. In some states, if the father and mother are not married, the father’s name will not be listed on the birth certificate, without certain paperwork being completed. Make sure you know the legal ramifications of paternity testing in your state before you request the procedure.