Prenatal vs. Postnatal Paternity Testing: Key Differences Explained - ARCpoint Labs of Cincinnati East
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Prenatal vs. Postnatal Paternity Testing: Key Differences Explained

by | May 29, 2024 | DNA

Prenatal Paternity Tests have grown in popularity in recent years as the testing has become more prevalent in the market and costs have come down. However, traditional, postnatal paternity testing is still the most frequently ordered of the two. Both tests have 99% accuracy rates and the test results either exclude or confirm the father.

What is a prenatal paternity test and how does it differ from a postnatal, traditional paternity test?

Prenatal paternity testing is a specialized test with a safe blood draw from the mother’s arm, pre-birth, and a buccal swab from the alleged father to match the DNA from both specimens.


    • Access to paternity information pre-birth
    • No worry or anxiety around having a child or newborn swabbed
    • Fetal DNA can be detected as early as 5 weeks and rises rapidly throughout the first trimester


    • Relative to traditional paternity testing, prenatal tests can be 3-4 times more expensive
    • May be considered more invasive as it requires a blood draw

What is a postnatal paternity test and what are the pros and cons of this type of test?

Postnatal, traditional paternity testing, compares DNA from a buccal swab from the child and alleged father.


    • Non-invasive, simple buccal swab of child and alleged father. May also include mother for best possible results at no additional cost.
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Available as a legal (chain of custody) and non-legal test


    • Not available until post-birth

Deciding the right testing for you may largely depend on answers to these questions:

    • Is their urgency to confirm the father pre-birth
    • Is the test cost a consideration
    • Are results needed to establish Legal paternity
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