The Expectant Parent’s Guide to a Prenatal Paternity Test

About 15%, or 21 million births in a single year worldwide, are out of wedlock. In many of these instances, moms-to-be request a prenatal paternity test to determine the baby’s father.

You don’t have to wait until your child is born to do this. Instead, consider an option for prenatal DNA testing. The technology available today keeps any risk to you and the baby at a minimum.

Still concerned about the process? Keep reading to learn more about your options for prenatal paternity testing.

Why Is Testing Important?

Confirming your baby’s paternity is important for psychological, legal, financial and medical reasons. 

For example, you’ll need an accurate record of the father’s medical history for your baby’s sake. If the father has a history of illness or disease that could pass onto the baby, it’s best to know as soon as possible. That way, you can take a proactive approach to give your child the treatment they need.

Prenatal paternity testing can also have a legal impact. For example, it can establish an inheritance for the child, as well as social security and child support.

Psychologically, confirming the baby’s paternity can create a bond between the father and child, too. 

You also want to avoid making assumptions. Mistaking the baby’s parentage could cause psychological stress for you, the baby, and the father in the future. 

Many states in the U.S. also require a form that voluntarily acknowledges the baby’s paternity once they’re born. After completing the form, parents may still complete a DNA paternity test to be sure. Most states allow between 60-90 days to amend the form (in case the DNA tests establishes a different father).  The form is then filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics and may also be used to establish Child Support. Therefore, it is best to establish Legal DNA proof. 

Different Prenatal Paternity Testing Options

About 130 million babies are born worldwide each year. Before your baby is born, consider requesting a prenatal paternity test. Confirming the baby’s paternity can give you peace of mind throughout your pregnancy.

After all, unnecessary stress can have a negative impact on you and the baby. By completing one of these tests early on in your pregnancy, you can minimize your stress and confirm your suspicions. 

Below are the different forms of prenatal paternity testing that you can request before your baby is born. 

Chorionic Villus Sampling

Also referred to as CVS, this form of testing is usually performed between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy. During this test, a doctor will insert a thin tube into the mother’s vagina. The doctor will use an ultrasound to insert the device through the cervix.

Once in position, the device will collect tissue from the placenta’s chorionic villi.

The doctor can also pass a needle through the abdomen wall to collect these samples. 

The chorionic villi are tiny fragments of tissue that contain cells with the baby’s DNA. A lab will compare these cell samples with samples from the mother and alleged father.

This test is also used to confirm potential birth defects or disorders. However, this test is considered an invasive procedure. With that in mind, there is a slight risk of miscarriage.

Most doctors prefer avoiding this prenatal paternity test due to the associated risks. The preferred method is now the “Non-invasive” test.

Non-Invasive Paternity Testing

One of the most common types of paternity tests is the non-invasive blood sample test. This test requires a blood sample from the mother and a cheek-swab or blood sample from the alleged father. This non-invasive prenatal DNA paternity test can be done as early as 8 weeks gestation.

During the pregnancy, fetal cells are shed into the mother’s bloodstream. Medical professionals can isolate these cells and separate them from the mother’s DNA. This allows doctors to create a DNA profile for the unborn baby.

Then, the baby’s profile is compared against the alleged father’s to determine the probability of paternity.

Don’t worry, there’s no risk to the unborn baby during this process. Before performing the prenatal paternity test, the medical team will need consent from both the mother and the alleged father.

The advantage of choosing this test is you can have it completed as early as eight weeks into the pregnancy. It’s also a non-invasive option for both the mother and baby.

You can also collect the blood and buccal samples without a doctor. Once you collect these samples, you can send them to an accredited lab for testing. These tests are usually 99.9% accurate.


The third form of prenatal paternity testing you can consider is amniocentesis. This test is usually performed between weeks 14 and 20 during pregnancy.

During this test, a doctor will insert an ultrasound-guided needle into your abdomen wall. Then, they’ll extract a sample of amniotic sac fluid.

This test takes longer than other paternity tests and can sometimes last up to 45 minutes.

Your growing baby will shed their DNA cells into the amniotic fluid. By extracting this fluid, doctors can differentiate your DNA from your unborn child’s DNA.

Amniocentesis is also used to detect chromosome abnormalities or disorders, including:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Spina bifida

Many doctors are familiar with this form of prenatal testing. Finding an experienced OBGYN can increase the test’s success rate.

However, amniocentesis is an invasive procedure. As a result, it carries a slight risk of miscarriage. There’s also a risk the needle could come in contact with the baby.

With that in mind, doctors usually use this test for detecting disorders and with high risk pregnancies rather than for paternity testing.

What to Know Before You Go: Requesting a Prenatal Paternity Test

Take the time to discuss the different prenatal paternity options. Call us at 1-888-712-9639.  We can help you consider the risks and advantages involved with each test.

Discuss your options with our team. Contact us now for a free consultation!

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