BACK TO Knowledge Base

A Prenatal or Post Natal Paternity Test? Should You Wait?


Taking a paternity test is becoming more common and yet for each family it can cause heartache and despair. A father who has brought up a child only to discover that he isn’t the father experiences all the classic symptoms of grief – shock, anger, denial, despair – because his illusions of fatherhood and relationship have been shattered. Whether it happens when the child is 18 months or 18 years, it is a difficult time.

For many, the question of paternity comes at the start of a child’s life. A pregnant woman may be faced with a partner who doesn’t believe the child is his, and who may not even want the child to be his. Both the prospective mother and father, together with any other party who may have a paternity claim, must try and come to an agreement for the welfare of the child. One way to do this is to have a pre-natal paternity test.

Pre-natal Paternity Test

A pre-natal test will show conclusively who is the father of the child, should the father be tested. The test is conducted in the same way as many other pre-natal tests. This is either by Chorionic villus sampling, which collects cells from the placenta using a catheter which is introduced via a needle into the vagina or abdomen, or by Amniocentesis, where a needle inserted into the abdomen collects cells from the amniotic fluid. Both of these procedures carry slight health risks for both mother and child, which is why you should consider the benefits of proving paternity before birth over the possible risks.

Another option is non invasive prenatal paternity testing – this test is done using maternal blood samples and a mouth swab or blood sample from the father. A non invasive prenatal paternity test is 100% risk free for the mother and the unborn baby.

Post-natal Paternity Test

A post-natal paternity test can be carried out as soon as the baby is born and with absolutely no risk to mother or baby. Cells can be collected from the baby and sent for testing and, with results available in just a few days, it is a straightforward procedure, giving both parties plenty of time to consider the potential outcome of the paternity test.