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Frequently Asked Questions about DNA Paternity Testing

Whether you have doubts that you are the father of a child or you need proof of paternity to show to the child’s mother, you may find yourself looking for an accurate and easy-to-use paternity test at some time in your life. If you are unfamiliar with paternity tests and how they work, you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind about their accuracy and mechanics. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about paternity testing and DNA test results - see more at

What Does Paternity Mean in a Nutshell?

Paternity is a term that basically refers to fatherhood. To prove that you are or are not the father of a child, a paternity test (DNA test) is administered which uses genetic testing methods to determine whether or not your genetic characteristics match those of the child in question.

What is DNA Testing?

When DNA is tested, it is examined very closely to identify unique DNA markers that can be used to identify the individual that the DNA belongs to. This same process is used to determine whether or not the supposed father is actually the child’s biological father. DNA testing is very helpful for proving or disproving a familial relationship between two people.

Who Needs to be Tested?

For accurate paternity test results, it is best to have a sample of genetic material from the mother, the child, and the father in question. However, it is possible to conduct a paternity test without a sample from the mother (although this is not recommended). If the child is not an adult, they must have permission from their legal guardian before they can provide a DNA sample for testing.

How Does DNA Paternity Testing Work?

When a DNA sample is tested to determine paternity, genetic material from the child is collected and analyzed to see if it is a match for the assumed biological parents. When a child is born, they have the same DNA that they will have throughout the rest of their life, which is one reason why DNA testing is so accurate. When a DNA paternity test is performed, the child’s genetic material is compared to the mother’s genetic material first to find genetic characteristics that are shared with both mother and child. Any characteristics that the child has that do not match the biological mother will likely match the child’s biological father.

If the supposed father does not have the genetic characteristics to match those of the child, then he cannot be the biological father of the child. On the other hand, if his genetic characteristics do match those of the child’s, then the laboratory calculates the probability of him being the biological father of the child and reports the results of their calculations to the requester of the DNA paternity test.  

Is DNA-Based Paternity Testing Accurate?

Paternity testing based on DNA markers is very accurate and can establish the probability of paternity with 99 percent accuracy or even higher. If you are using a quality DNA-based paternity test to determine whether or not you are the father of a child, you can be quite confident that the results of that test are accurate.

Are Test Results Confidential?

Most DNA paternity test results are confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone but the person requesting the test. When you request a DNA paternity test, make sure you ask the laboratory performing the testing if the results are confidential before you proceed with testing.

Is it Necessary to Receive a Doctor’s Order?

In most cases you don’t need to have a doctor’s order before ordering a DNA paternity test. If you have any doubts about the regulations in the state you live in, be sure to check your state’s specific rules on DNA testing.

In What Situations Might I Need Paternity Testing?

Paternity testing is very helpful for many different situations, including:

  • Custody matters
  • Peace of mind
  • Citizenship and immigration concerns
  • Family medical concerns
  • Crime scene analysis
  • Child support
  • Adoption
  • Insurance and social security benefits/inheritance

If you have any reason to doubt that you are the father of a child, or if you want to prove to someone else that you are the father, a paternity test is an accurate and relatively easy way to do so.

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