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Accuracy of Home Paternity Testing

Can you Count on the Reliability of an At Home Paternity Test?


Father carrying son on back
Blend Images - Mike Kemp/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Often, if a parent sues for custody of his or her child, a court of a law may inquire into whether paternity has been established for that child. A father establishes paternity by signing an acknowledgment of paternity after the child is born or via a court hearing. If paternity has not been established, the court will ask whether paternity is contested. If so, the father has the right to undergo a paternity test. There are different types of paternity tests, including at-home paternity tests and tests performed in a doctor's office. Let's explore the nuances of at home paternity testing, including whether such tests are considered accurate:

Paternity Testing Process for At Home Tests

At home paternity testing involves collecting DNA samples at home versus the traditional paternity test that involves a doctor's office or visit to a lab. The process for testing paternity at home involves:

  • Taking some saliva from the child's mouth with a cotton swab
  • Follow the same process for the potential father, taking a saliva swab from the mouth
  • Either parent should then mail the test into a lab, as per the directions
  • The results should be sent back to the parents within a week

Benefits of At Home Paternity Testing

There are several benefits to at home testing, including:

  • Cost-effective
  • Private
  • Potentially faster results

Drawbacks of At Home Paternity Testing

Although there are several benefits to taking a paternity test at home, there are some drawbacks, which include:

  • False results
  • Individuals misunderstanding or misreading the results
  • Misuse of the test

The Cost of Home Paternity Testing

Home paternity testing kits generally cost less than one hundred dollars and may be purchased at any major drugstore.

Accuracy of Home Paternity Tests

At home paternity tests may be extremely accurate - as accurate as a test performed at a doctor's office. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If the test will be used for a court hearing, you should check with your state before taking it, as the state may have specific rules surrounding paternity testing
  • The directions should be followed completely or there's a risk of false results
  • Be sure to have the consent of the child's mother prior to performing an at-home paternity test

Manner in Which Home Results are Reported

Home paternity testing results can be reported in a number of different ways. Home paternity tests can be reported:

  • Via a secure email
  • Via mail
  • Over the phone

There are times when the paternity of a child is called into question. The question may arise while the mother is pregnant with the child or after the parent has given birth to a child. At home paternity testing has several benefits, but there are potential risks as noted above. Additionally, at home testing can only be performed after a woman gives birth to a child. For more information about paternity testing, a parent can speak with a qualified medical practitioner or a qualified attorney.

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