Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Testing Frequent Questions

What does the term “non-invasive” mean?

Most women will be familiar with procedures like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. These procedures are sometimes carried out to determine the health of the babies. They are called “invasive tests” because they involve certain instrumentation in order for doctors to enter the womb to collect samples. By “non-invasive” is the opposite of invasive – here we mean the procedure does not require any instrumentation or entry into the womb.

What does a typical prenatal kit contain?

A typical prenatal kit contains the required blood collection tubes, oral swabs (in cases where oral swabs are used by the laboratory to extract the alleged father’s sample), instructions and consent forms. You will also have a pre-paid courier service to return your samples.

Who collects the blood sample?

Blood samples need to be collected by a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist. It is important that you send the samples as soon as possible. Chances of successful DNA extraction may be reduced if samples are delayed / not fresh. More about prenatal sample collection can be found here.

Why would I choose a non-invasive test?

All invasive tests carry certain risks, the most worrying one being a miscarriage.  With a non-invasive prenatal paternity test you can have your mind at rest because the test is 100% safe for both the mother and the unborn baby.

What will the results show me?

The results will either confirm that the alleged father tested is the biological father or will exclude the tested alleged father as being the biological father.

Are the results accurate?

Results for the the prenatal paternity test are very accurate.  If the tested father is the biological father of the baby, the results will confirm this with a probability of 99.9%.

If the tested father is not the biological father, the results will show a probability of paternity of 0%.

How long will results take?

Different companies have different turnaround times. Typically, the results are ready in 7- 10 working days.

What DNA samples do I require?

The test requires blood samples from the expectant mother and oral swabs can be used to collect samples from the alleged father. Some companies will require a blood sample from the alleged father as well.

Can I know the sex of the baby through this test?

A non-invasive prenatal paternity test will not confirm the sex of the baby.  Prenatal gender testing is an entirely different test with a different laboratory testing methodology.

When can I carry out the test?

10 weeks need to have elapsed from the first day of your last menstrual cycle in order to take this test. Taking the test too early might mean an inconclusive result.

What happens if I take the test too early?

The non invasive prenatal paternity test is based on the analysis of fetal DNA in the mother’s blood. The volume of fetal DNA increases consistently as pregnancy progresses with levels being normally adequate for laboratory extraction at 10 weeks of pregnancy (from last menstrual cycle). If the test is taken too early, the volume of fetal DNA is likely to be too low for successful laboratory extraction.

When many weeks have passed since my last menstrual period?

To know for how many weeks you have been pregnant, you might want to refer to an online pregnancy calculator although ideally, you would speak to a mid-wife, doctor or specialist.

How much is the test?

The cost of the test may vary but is usually around XXXXXXXXX.

What happens if the alleged father and mother live in different places?

This is a common scenario and most DNA testing companies will accommodate such situations by sending out kits to different addresses. Additional kit charges and postage fee may apply.