Questions about DNA [paternity] testing?


Q: We’ve been thinking of getting my 4 month old nephew a DNA test to see if my brother is really his father.
So what kinds of information or anything do you need? Will they draw blood from my brother & my nephew?
How much is it? Is it painful?

A: If your brother is not the current legal father, he cannot have a medical test performed on the child without the mother’s permission by an accredited DNA lab. Most labs can only release the results to either those tested (the baby’s not old enough to receive the results himself), their representatives (attorneys), or the legal guardians (the mother). Some courts also require the mother’s participation for a legally binding test. The mother does not HAVE to participate in the test herself for results to be accurate (although it is a simpler if she does and also helps in cases of unlikely but possible genetic mutations), but if you want to test the child, she should consent to the test before you have the child tested.

Here are your options:
1.) If he wants to have it done with a private lab, he can choose either a legally sound DNA test which CAN be used in court later or a non-legally binding test. A legal DNA test can cost around $500, a non-legal DNA test can cost around $300. A DNA lab that I’ve spoken to personally is DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center) and their fee schedule is on their website as well as their requirements.

2.) He can petition the court for a DNA test or he can talk to your local Child Support Office about establishing paternity. If he does this, child support WILL be set that he will be responsible for if he is found to be the father. If child support has already been set or he is already been established as the legal father, he may have already given up his right to a DNA test (by signing a voluntary recognition of parentage or something similar) or there may be set guidelines for how long he has to protest being the legal father. IF A DNA TEST IS DONE BY THE COURT, THEY CAN AND OFTEN WILL CHARGE HIM FOR IT IN ITS ENTIRETY OR IN PART IF HE IS FOUND TO BE THE FATHER. If he is not the father, he will not be charged for the test.

Most DNA labs now use cotton swabs in the mouth to collect DNA samples and there is no need for blood collection.