What is paternity testing?

Paternity testing can determine whether or not a particular man is the biological father of a particular child. This procedure involves collecting and examining the DNA of a small sample of bodily fluid or tissue from a child and the potential father.

DNA is the unique genetic "fingerprint" that makes up a person’s genes and chromosomes. When a baby is conceived, each parent passes on half of his/her DNA to the baby, whose genetic code (DNA) is a shared mix of only its mother’s and father’s DNA. By collecting and examining a small sample of DNA from the baby and the potential father, a paternity test can confirm or disprove that the man is indeed the biological father of the baby.

What bodily fluids and tissues can be sampled in a paternity test?

DNA is present in most of our body’s cells. A small sample for testing can be obtained from several bodily sources. The cells that are most commonly tested are obtained from the blood or inside the cheek of the mouth (called buccal cells).

How accurate is DNA testing?

DNA testing is generally considered to be the most accurate testing method available. DNA paternity testing can show that a man is highly likely to be the father with about 99.9% accuracy, or that he is excluded as being the father with 100% accuracy.