Paternity Testing and Family Relationships

Children born out of wedlock, teenage pregnancies, multiple partners and divorce rates escalating – one must admit that the concept of childhood, parenting and the family has really evolved in the past few decades. Paternity testing has become the most accurate and scientific means of confirming or disproving paternity and many families and couples resort to this DNA test to make important decisions about their family and find closure.

What exactly is Paternity and why is it important for the kids?

Paternity is a term that has significant legal bearing. Paternity essentially means confirming the father as the parent of the child. We all want what is best for our children and for us and it is only in rare cases that any parent is truly unfit to parent. Establishing paternity is thus, important for the following reasons:

  • The child and parents will get social benefits and legal benefits, which may include Child’s Benefits (a social security payment) which help towards the education and upbringing of the children.
  • Inheritance benefits- your child will have no inheritance benefits from a man that has not recognized the child as his.
  • Determining paternity is crucial to strengthen the emotional bond and relationship between a father and his child.
  • Your child’s medical history can help provide a better health care plan. A child has a need to know if they are carriers or stand a chance of developing a certain genetic disorder or hereditary condition- it might in future condition their family planning. Paternity can also help fill in your child’s family tree.
  • On another note, it is not unusual for mother’s to either accidentally or purposely name the incorrect father on a child’s birth certificate. According to The Guardian (1/8/2008), one in 5 paternity claims handled by the UK Child Support Agency (which is the State Department of Health and Human Services in the US) showed this trend. Paternity testing can help solve any paternity doubts, building families with legitimate, biological parents and saving and traumas arising from paternity disputes later in life once a family is built.

How early can Paternity be established?

Paternity DNA testing can be carried out either before a baby is born (also known as prenatal paternity testing) as well as after the baby is born and at any time during the lifetime of a person. We explain the difference in more detail below.

Paternity testing during pregnancy in what is known as a prenatal paternity test or after the birth of the child. Prenatal testing involves DNA sampling procedures such as amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (two diagnostic tests which most mothers will be acquainted with and which are used for determining autoimmune diseases in unborn children).

A paternity test can be carried out at the birth of the child. The first few days of your child life are such an important time for bonding that any doubts regarding paternity should at this point be handled and concluded. There is a time frame within which you must legally name the father of the child; in the State of Indiana, you have 72 hours. Both parents must agree and sign a paternity affidavit. If the need arises, a paternity test can be carried out in those 3 days to ensure the correct father is named.