Prenatal tests to determine paternity

Fathers incorrectly assume that if their name is on a child’s birth certificate, their rights as a parent are automatically established. However, this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, without first properly establishing paternity, a father could end up actually finding himself in a tricky situation where he must pay child support, but still has no visitation schedule or decision-making rights as a parent.

So just what is a father to do? The No. 1 thing is to establish paternity. In cases where the baby is already born, this can be done through a simple DNA paternity test. This is typically done by collecting DNA samples from the child, mother and alleged father through a swabbing of each person’s mouth.

Of course, with so much riding on the outcome of a DNA paternity test, it is important to make sure the integrity of the test is kept intact and that if there are any questions regarding contamination that another test is immediately ordered. These concerns should also be brought up at once with an attorney.

If the child is not yet born, prenatal testing can now be done during the first trimester. Aside from determining who a baby’s father is; these tests can also be used to determine things like gender and certain chromosome abnormalities.

It should also be noted that while it is certainly very important to establish rights as a father, there are also some cases where a DNA paternity test is needed in order to prove there is no biological relation to a child.

Source: The Atlantic, “Prenatal Testing: Earlier and More Accurate Than Ever,” Lindsay Abrams, Nov. 5, 2012

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