Paternity Testing Before Delivery

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If you find yourself in need of paternity testing for whatever reason, you have a choice to make. Paternity testing after your baby is born is much less invasive, much less expensive, and has less potential for problems such as miscarriage.

It’s important to understand your options for prenatal paternity testing so that you can make an informed decision. There are essentially two types of prenatal paternity testing that can occur. Both gather a sample of your baby’s DNA and are then compared to the DNA of the potential father.

About amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is generally performed during the second trimester of pregnancy, between the 14th and the 20th weeks. During an amniocentesis, your health care provider will utilize an ultrasound machine to help him guide a thin needle into your uterus, by way of your abdomen. This needle will draw out a little bit of amniotic fluid.  This amniotic fluid is then tested for DNA.

There are a few risks that go along with having amniocentesis. These include a chance of harm to the baby as well as a chance of miscarriage. You might also experience leaking of amniotic fluid, vaginal bleeding, or cramping.

Chorionic Villi Sampling

CVS is a procedure that can be done earlier in pregnancy, usually between week 10 and week 13. With CVS, your health care provider will insert a thin tube or needle into the vagina, through the cervix, to try to obtain little finger-like pieces of tissue attached to the uterine wall, known as chorionic villi. Chorionic villi comes from the same fertilized egg that your fetus comes from, and consequently has the same DNA makeup as your baby.

The risks involved in CVS are fewer, overall, than those involved in amniocentesis.

Know the law

Keep in mind, as well, that paternity tests notwithstanding, many states have laws about determining who is legally a baby’s father. In many states, the husband of a woman who becomes pregnant is legally the father, regardless of what the paternity testing says. In any case, without certain paperwork, a father’s name will not be listed on the baby’s birth certificate if he is not married to the mother.

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