Can You Get a Paternity Test While Pregnant: Understanding Prenatal Paternity Tests

Paternity tests aren’t just genetic analyses that allow people to address concerns about the child’s paternity but are also important legal tools that can address paternity disputes. But, can you get a paternity test while pregnant? Most women wonder if they need to wait until the end of their pregnancy to determine the paternity of their child, however, several methods allow testing for paternity while you’re pregnant. These tests are called prenatal paternity tests and are also referred to as paternity tests in-utero. 

We discuss several aspects that concern prenatal paternity tests in this article, so if you’ve been wondering ‘Can you do a paternity test while pregnant?’, then you’re in the right place. Alongside the non-invasive and invasive methods of prenatal paternity tests, we also address a few frequently asked questions about getting a paternity test while pregnant. Read on to know more. 

prenatal paternity test

The Importance of Paternity Testing

Paternity tests are important for several reasons, some of them include: 

  • Paternity tests establish a clear and scientifically proven relationship between the child and their biological father. This is not only important from a legal standpoint but also helps provide an important insight into the child’s family and medical history from the father’s side. 
  • Paternity tests can also be important tools for psychological reasons that allow both the mother and the child to establish a connection with the biological father through grounded, evidence-based DNA tests. 
  • Proven paternity can also solidify the bond between the father and the child. 
  • Paternity test reports can become important legal documents that can ensure social security benefits for the child. 
  • These tests also enable doctors to evaluate the risk factors for certain inheritable genetic ailments the child might be at risk of contracting from the father’s side of the family. 
  • It provides a clear and comprehensive medical history for the child that can be useful in future medical visits and appointments. 
  • Paternity formalities are important procedures that all expecting parents should complete to acknowledge paternity or request a paternity test to ascertain paternity. These legally valid procedures and documents are essential in ascertaining family welfare and ensuring the child receives the support they deserve. 

Can You Ascertain Paternity by Date of Conception?

  • If you’re still concerned about getting a DNA test while pregnant, you might be thinking about whether the date of conception can determine paternity. 
  • However, sperm cells can survive for up to five days in the female system post intercourse, and it becomes complicated to base paternity merely on the conception date. 
  • The variability is further increased when you factor in the ovulation dates. Since women tend to ovulate on different days every other month, extrapolating paternity details from just the conception date is not very reliable. 
  • For women with multiple partners, it is often advisable to get a paternity test to be completely certain of the father’s identity. 
  • Prenatal paternity tests are especially useful as they can save a lot of time for both parents. 
  • Mothers can undertake DNA tests while pregnant to ascertain the child’s paternity, allowing for a smooth documentation and social security process post-delivery. 

Paternity Test While Pregnant: The Options

For those of you still wondering if you can get a paternity test while pregnant, here are a few options: 

Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing

    • The non-invasive method of prenatal paternity testing is one of the most accurate and safe ways to ascertain the child’s paternity before their birth. 
    • Fetal cells are present in the mother’s bloodstream, making it easier for doctors to collect a sample without interfering with the birth sac to draw fetal genetic material. 
    • Non-invasive paternity tests while pregnant do not affect the growing baby in any manner since the fetal cells can be accessed directly from the mother’s bloodstream.
    • A cheek swab or a blood sample from the potential father will complete the sample requirements for the test. 
    • Doctors can then analyze the samples in the laboratory to match the genetic sequences of the child and the father.   
    • The child’s DNA can be isolated from the mother’s genetic material in the laboratory to give the doctors a complete genetic picture of the child. 
    • The child’s profile and father’s profile are then matched to provide a probability of paternity. 
    • Test results are always in percentages, and a result that is 99.9% establishes paternity. 
    • This test is among the safest paternity tests in-utero and is up to 99% accurate. 
    • Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing can be conducted as early as 8 weeks into the pregnancy, allowing both parents to ascertain paternity well before the child’s birth. 
    • Prenatal paternity testing packages also come with additional advantages that allow you to access the child’s health information and a genetic ancestry report that can provide information on specific concerns and health risks to watch out for. 
    • If a mother is carrying twins, however, the process is different, and a different procedure must be followed to ascertain the paternity of both children. This occurs because fraternal twins can sometimes be fathered by different individuals. 

Invasive prenatal paternity testing 

Paternity tests can be carried out using invasive methods such as: 

1. Amniocentesis

  • Amniocentesis is usually performed to detect any developmental anomalies or genetic abnormalities in the developing fetus. It is usually done between weeks 14 and 20 of the pregnancy. 
  • Amniocentesis involves taking a sample of the amniotic fluid from the birth sac to use for testing and examination. 
  • The amniotic fluid contains the cells of the developing child and can be used to conduct DNA tests while you’re pregnant. 
  • Doctors can match the child’s genetic sample with the sample collected from the father to determine paternity. 
  • The results of amniocentesis are 99% accurate. 
  • However, for merely ascertaining paternity, amniocentesis requires your doctor’s permission and is not recommended for all women. 
  • Amniocentesis carries a small risk of miscarriage and the viability of the procedure is decided based on a case-by-case basis by the physician. 

The side effects that can lead to potential miscarriage include: 

  • Infection
  • Premature labor 
  • Water breaking 
  • Vaginal bleeding 
  • Cramps 
  • Amniotic fluid leakage 
  • Irritation and infection of the injection site 
  • However, modern techniques have made amniocentesis much safer than before and are used to determine various developmental abnormalities in children. 
  • Amniocentesis can be used to determine the gender of the child too, in case the parents specifically ask for it.
  • This comprises an invasive paternity test in-utero in cases where the conventional non-invasive method cannot be used. 
  • Be sure to check with your physician thoroughly before you decide to go through with the amniocentesis procedure for prenatal paternity testing. 

can you do a dna test while pregnant

2. Chorionic Villus Sampling

  • The chorion is the outermost layer of the developing fetus and has finger-shaped projections called villi that increase the surface area and aid the absorption of nutrients and oxygen from the maternal blood. 
  • The chorionic villi maximize contact with the uterine wall and ensure the fetus remains well nourished. 
  • Chorionic villi contain the cells of the developing child and can be sampled to extract the DNA of the child. 
  • If you’ve been wondering about can you do a paternity test while pregnant, chorionic villus sampling is another viable option. 
  • Though invasive, it is highly accurate with a 99% accuracy rate and provides reliable results on paternity tests. 
  • The chromosome analysis on CVC (chorionic villus sampling) is often deployed to detect congenital anomalies, developmental defects, and genetic disturbances in the developing child. However, the sourceable DNA from the child can be used to resolve paternity issues by comparing the sample with one sourced from the potential father. 
  • Chorionic villus sampling tests too, require your physician’s consent as they too are invasive procedures like amniocentesis and carry a small risk of side effects and miscarriage.
  • It is performed between weeks 10 and 13 of the pregnancy, and doctors use a long needle or a tube that is passed through the vaginal tract, followed by the cervix to collect the chorionic villi. Ultrasound guides are used to position the needle accurately and to draw the villi samples from the optimal regions. 
  • Don’t forget to consult your physician before proceeding with chorionic villi sampling to test for the paternity of your child. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Several women have common concerns when it comes to prenatal paternity tests and undergoing paternity tests while pregnant. We list 3 of the most common questions in addition to the above sections to ensure you have a full understanding of the procedures and are informed of their basic outline before you head to your doctor for a thorough examination: 

  • Can you do a DNA test while pregnant? 

Yes, you can do a DNA test to ascertain the paternity of your child while you’re pregnant. Your doctor will suggest either a non-invasive or an invasive test to analyze the DNA of your child based on your condition. Doctors will also account for how far the pregnancy has progressed at the time of your consultation. 

  • How much does paternity testing cost?

Paternity testing costs depend on the procedure requested and the initial workups involved in the testing. The prices often range from between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. However, prenatal paternity testing is often cheaper when compared to paternity tests post-birth due to the additional charges involved in the latter. 

  • How soon can a paternity test be done?

Non-invasive paternity tests can be done as early as 8 weeks into the pregnancy, whereas amniocentesis is often conducted only between the 14th and 20th weeks. Alternatively, chorionic villus sampling occurs between the 10th and 13th weeks. The timing of the tests will be decided by the doctor after examining you and your child. 

dna test while pregnant

Be sure to contact your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s paternity. Get to know your options and evaluate what you can do to ascertain the paternity of the child. Prenatal paternity tests allow for a straightforward approach to paternity tests before birth, provided you ensure you address all your concerns with your doctor before making a decision.