Pros and Cons of a Prenatal Paternity Test

For some mothers, it would be heartbreaking to witness a child's agony while growing up without a father.


It could be that the father passed away, had a legal family of his own (the child having been born out of wedlock), or the child's mother, for some reasons, did not know the identity of her child's father.

Seeing other kids happy and contented with both a mother and a father can devastate and trouble a fatherless child.  It can leave him with a lot of resentment, emotional scars and an unhappy childhood. It's possible he would carry all that emotional baggage and resentment while growing up into adulthood.

soon-to-be mother

For this reason, many mothers, or soon-to-be mothers, who find themselves in this sticky situation of not knowing who the father of the child she’s carrying, would not want the same thing to happen to their own baby. 

At some point, they would come to a decision to resolve this: to avail of a Prenatal Paternity Test.

Why The Need For A Prenatal Paternity Test?

As simplistic as the scenario above looks, the reality is that there are many things to consider when one wants to go that way.

And I should say, there are a lot of reasons, coming from the father or mother.  But let's just say that the mother got pregnant or impregnated without knowing exactly who the father is.

why the need for prenatal paternity tests

Do you really need a paternity test?

There are outrageous and unimaginable reasons these things happen, but hey, sometimes life can be as strange, or even stranger, than fiction, right? But that's another story that will need another article.

There are many reasons someone might need, or benefit from, a Prenatal Paternity Test:

WHY YOU MIGHT NEED/BENEFIT FROM A PPT

  • Provides the mother with child support, or financial  and moral support from the father, voluntarily or by legal means
  • Determines the paternity of the child, or who the biological father is.
  • For the man, to dispel his doubts regarding whether he is the real father of the unborn baby.
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    Provides the child with all legal benefits he is entitled to from the father
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    Peace of mind to the father, mother and child, which we cannot put a price tag on
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    Potential to create a stronger bond between the father and the child
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    The child is given another parental figure, the man who is established by the results of paternity test to be his biological father
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    On the other hand, the father is provided with a child he knows is his own, to love, support, and spend his life with.
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    Identifying the biological father would provide data of genetic indicators that may be helpful someday.

What Is A Prenatal Paternity Test?

A prenatal paternity test is carried out to determine if a man is the father of a baby, still in the womb of the mother, thus called prenatal.  It's done by examining samples containing the DNA of the man, the pregnant woman, and the unborn baby.

dna paternity test

A paternity test is analyzed in the lab for 3-5 business days on average.

DNA Samples from the Man and the Pregnant Woman: A sample of their DNA, usually cheek cells extracted from inside the mouth, is each taken from the man and the pregnant woman, and then analyzed.  If the result of the paternity test serves a legal requirement, it should be conducted under strict conditions required by the court.

DNA Sample from the Unborn Baby:  To obtain a DNA sample for analysis from the unborn baby, the pregnant woman will provide the sample in one of two ways:

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    Amniotic fluid from the womb which contains cells from the unborn baby
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    Sample tissues from the pregnant woman's placenta

2 Procedures To Extract DNA From An Unborn Baby

Amniocentesis: A needle is inserted through the abdomen of the mother to extract sample fluid from the womb.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): A needle is passed through the wall of the abdomen to collect samples of tissue from the woman's placenta. Alternatively, a small tube is passed through the vagina and the neck of the womb or cervix.

PROS

  • Prenatal paternity test, which relies on DNA testing, is an extremely reliable and accurate way of establishing biological relationships.
  • With at-home paternity test, you can do it right in the privacy of your home at a time convenient for you.
  • A paternity test done at home protects your privacy by not letting strangers know you are taking one.  Though you have to send your DNA sample for testing, you still retain your anonymity since your identity remains private.
  • A CVS procedure can be done earlier in the woman's pregnancy
  • Amniocentesis has a higher success rate since it is a procedure most doctors, specifically OBs, are very familiar with.

CONS

  • The DNA test results may be misleading, erroneous or unreliable if done by a cheaper and substandard test center.
  • It may be the cause of friction and bitterness between the man and the pregnant woman.
  • If you choose to do your paternal testing at home, the DNA samples may get lost in the mail or get damaged.
  • There is the chance that your DNA sample might be tampered intentionally or accidentally damaged by someone.
  • The laboratory processing fee could be a negative factor for you.
  • CVS and Amniocentesis are invasive procedures that can put the pregnant woman in some risk of miscarriage

Looking At It From A Different Perspective

Viewing all this from the point of view of the child, let us say, now old enough to understand and feel the stigma of not knowing and having a father by his side, it may bring the other parent faster to a decision and able to choose the right kind of method to identify who the father is.

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If the mother is responsible and caring, she would not want that kind of life for the child. Doing what it takes to know the father and providing a complete family for the child would save the child from a possible identity crisis and a miserable life.

Then again, there are kids who have more fortitude than most and would even grow up to be normal and productive adults even if they don’t have a father.  These are kids who have a strong sense of self and would rather rise out of such unfortunate situation than be hopeless victims.

They are determined to make their lives better despite the circumstance they did not create in the first place.

Wrapping Up

It can only be good to know there is a way out for pregnant women to make it right, should it happen to them.

For these women, the important thing is they have a choice.

They can have all the information they need to come to a decision they can live with for the rest of their life, and most important of all, to give a wonderful legacy to their child.

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