What is a Prenatal Paternity Test?

What is a Prenatal Paternity Test?


What is a Prenatal Paternity Test?


Establishing paternity is important for many new parents as it determines who the legal father is. Prenatal paternity testing is a process that takes place before the child is born. It is a useful tool for pregnant women who had multiple sexual partners around the time of conception as well as for presumed fathers who want to ensure they have legal paternity.

Benefits of Paternity Tests


Texas law states that a child has no legal father until paternity has been established. If the mother is married, her husband is the presumed father, and if he believes he is not the biological father, he must fill out and submit a Denial of Paternity. If the mother is not married, she and the suspected father must sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity for him to have legal rights to the child.

Establishing paternity is important for several reasons. Primarily, it provides the mother with the right to seek child support if she is not in a relationship with the father. A paternity test also provides the father with a legal right to establish a relationship with the child and allows him to seek custody and visitation rights if desired. Finally, establishing paternity gives the child important insight into the genetic background and insurance benefits under the father’s name.

Reasons to Establish Paternity Before Birth


Under Texas law, paternity suits can be filed at any time if the child involved does not have a presumed father. If there is a presumed father, a paternity suit must be filed within four years, or he retains legal rights and may be required to support the child financially even if he is no longer involved with the mother.

All parties involved benefit from establishing paternity during the pregnancy. Knowing the results allows the legal father to exercise his paternal rights and seek legal counsel if necessary. A prenatal paternity test also allows the mother to seek financial aid immediately after delivering the child instead of having to wait until paternity is established. Finally, prenatal testing allows the child to form a relationship with the legal father.

Options for Prenatal Paternity Testing


Before 2012, there were only two options available for prenatal paternity testing. Both were invasive and carried a small risk of miscarriage. However, new technology has discovered a third option that can be performed as early as the eighth week of pregnancy. The other options require you to wait until the second trimester, but they may be more suitable for you. Depending upon how far along you are and the risk level of your pregnancy, you may undergo any of the following testing options, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

  • Amniocentesis: This procedure requires a doctor’s consent. It involves piercing the mother’s abdomen with a thin needle and withdrawing amniotic fluid. The fluid is then compared to DNA samples taken from the mother and presumed father. As with any prenatal test, this option has a risk of complications.
  • NIPP: A non-invasive prenatal paternity test is the newest procedure available for establishing paternity. The doctor takes a blood sample from the mother and presumed father and then compares them to trace amounts of the baby’s DNA that are found naturally in the mother’s bloodstream. It is highly accurate and has little risk of complications.
  • CVS: The doctor uses a thin tube to extract chorionic villi, which is a thin, finger-shaped tissue fertilized by the same egg as the baby through the cervix and vagina. DNA is taken from the tissue and compared to samples taken from the mother and presumed father.

Prenatal Paternity Testing at ARCPoint Labs of Austin North


If you need a prenatal paternity test, ARCPoint Labs of Austin North offers several options. Contact us today to learn more about our paternity test services.

Image Credit: Henrik Dolle/Shutterstock

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