Any person who has had more than one partner and falls pregnant will naturally want to know who the father of the child is. A baby DNA test is one means of establishing with certainty who the daddy of the unborn child is. One can of course choose to wait till after the child is born although it is important to know that this is not necessary as a paternity test can be conclusively carried out while the mother is still pregnant.

How is the Baby DNA testing done?

There are two main methods through which the unborn baby’s DNA can be sampled for a baby DNA test.

Amniocentesis: this is carried out anywhere between week 14 and week 20 of the pregnancy and is normally done as a routine procedure to locate abnormalities in the chromosomes. The procedure is normally done by gynecologists under local anesthetic who will insert a needle into the womb through the abdomen. The fluid extracted will contain loose fetal cells and some of the mother’s cells too. The process is invasive and there could be consequences. Although the chances are minor, they are nevertheless, still there. These include:

• Infection to the amniotic sack due to the needle
• Infections at the point in which needles puncture abdomen
• Fetal trauma
• Early labour
• Serious complications which could lead to miscarriage

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): another method that can be used for establishing paternity before birth is CVS. CVS can be carried out earlier in the pregnancy and the gynecologist enters through the vaginal cervix. Again, the procedure is invasive and there are certain minor risks of infection of inducing miscarriage.

Pre-natal testing comes at a considerable added cost which is needed to cover the medical fees. Moreover, to some, due to the invasive nature of the test, may even be psychologically burdensome. A mother has a given period of time to register a father on the child’s birth certificate which is ample to carry out a paternal analysis after the child’s birth.

Is it Necessary to do a baby DNA test?

Whether to do this type of test is very much a personal choice and there are a number of considerations involved. Will getting the results which are not desired induce an abortion? This opens up a whole new complex issue. Until a father is not registered in the child’s birth certificate, then the child does not have access to all his or her legal rights.

Pre-natal testing is by far more expensive as you will need to pay the surgeon’s fees and set up appointments etc. Ideally, waiting till the birth of the child is likely the most recommended option as baby DNA tests are still very much at the centre of ethical debates so that many DNA testing companies prefer not to carry them out.

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