Uncertainty is stressful. It is a fact of life that a lot of situations have unpredictable outcomes despite the gravity of their potential effects. The stock market, hurricanes, and winning the lottery are all subject to informed speculation and the occasional educated guess, but complete certainty of what is going to happen and when it will occur is often elusive. One of the things that exemplifies this spirit of the unexpected more than anything is an unplanned pregnancy. In some instances, this situation is accompanied by a somewhat cloudy image of the father’s identity. Thankfully, the advent of modern science offers clarity with the development of paternity testing. 

Uses for genetic testing 

Over recent decades, genetic testing has been used in myriad applications. Diagnostics for disease, screening for congenital conditions, and testing for responsiveness to specific medications are just a few examples of what this technology has afforded us. Exposing the unknown through genetics is not limited to medical uses, however. Hereditary information can also be determined through DNA analysis in order to identify a child’s parents. This is the basis of paternity testing. 

The genetic paternity test process

The genetic paternity testing process works by first taking a sample from the suspected father via cheek swab or blood test. This is then compared with a sample of the child’s DNA which can be taken either from the mother’s amniotic fluid, a processed sample of her own blood, or from the child directly— depending on when the collection occurs. Once both samples are obtained, they are taken to the lab. Here, the cell’s outer membrane is broken down, the DNA is extracted, and certain regions of the gene sequence are enzymatically cut out and amplified to become more easily detectable. Then both samples are compared to see if they hold the same unique genetic signature. If they line up sufficiently, paternity is confirmed. 

Cost of paternity testing

The use of this type of modern technology may seem like it comes with a considerable price tag, but paternity tests can be affordable depending on where they are purchased, the type of test requested, and whether or not the results are required to be admissible in court. Costs range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand depending on these variables, although often it is advantageous to get a test that is recognized by law to ensure federal legitimacy and prevent the additional costs of re-testing down the road. 

Where to get a paternity test

Paternity tests can be taken or purchased through private companies, hospitals, doctors offices, and drug stores and are now a commonplace practice that can be carried out non-invasively and in relatively little time. There are also home testing kits that can be used for convenience and discretion of the customer with little to no complication, although these may not be admissible in court.  

With all the feelings that may come having a newborn on the way, it can be assured that uncertainty does not need to be one of them. There are a large number of companies and medical institutions that are oriented towards expecting the unexpected, and with the right resources, anyone can find their way out of the fog.