Paternity Tests

My daughter is pregnant. Her boyfriend left her just weeks before she found out about the pregnancy. He is requesting a paternity test be done while she is pregnant. Is this possible and is there any health issues that would be related in doing this type of testing that could harm her or the child?

Characteristics that two people have will sometimes set limits on what characteristics their children can have. For example, two blue eyed people can only have a blue eyed child. A couple where one or both partners have brown eyes can have blue or brown eyed children. So, if a man with blue eyes is suspected of fathering a child of blue eyed woman and the child was born with brown-eyes, then he would be excluded as the father.

Paternity testing works on this same idea. Only it is repeated with many different characteristics, all of which are biochemical substances found in the blood. If the baby fits all 20 or so of the limits set by the mother and the proposed father, then the chances are less than 1% that the man in question is not the father.

All that is needed for paternity testing is blood from all three individuals involved: mother, child, and alleged father. The fetus has blood capable of undergoing the genetic tests to establish paternity the same as a baby. But, in these cases it obviously must be drawn through the pregnant uterus. It is a technique called chorionic villus sampling (CVS). CVS was developed to do genetic testing to identify fetal abormalities. It does have a slight risk of causing the pregnancy to terminate early. So, it is rarely done for routine paternity testing. Only in cases where rape or incest is involved warrant the extra risk.

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