How to ask your partner for a paternity test

Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

By Casey Randall, Head of Genetics at AlphaBiolabs
Last reviewed: 11/10/2023

At AlphaBiolabs, we understand that the question of a child’s paternity is a sensitive issue.

Choosing to order a paternity test is not an easy decision to make. In most cases, you will want to talk to your partner about ordering a paternity test, especially if you are in a long-term, committed relationship.

Once you have raised the issue of a child’s paternity, there are likely to be difficult conversations that follow, whether you’re a father with doubts, or a mother who is unsure about who your child’s father is.

Whatever your circumstances, it is important to think about why you want to do a paternity test, and what the outcome of the test could mean for you and your family.

In this article, we look at how to ask your partner for a paternity test, and some of the things you need to consider before you order a paternity test.

How does a paternity DNA test work?

A peace of mind paternity test is performed by taking cheek (buccal) swabs from the alleged father and comparing his DNA sample with the cheek swab DNA of the child.

An AlphaBiolabs paternity test analyses up to 45 DNA markers to determine which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the father.

When testing the biological father of the child, both will share identical sections of DNA at each marker. If the tested man is not the biological father, this will not be the case.

As the name implies, a peace of mind paternity test is for your information only and cannot be used in legal proceedings.

When should I consider asking for a paternity test?

In situations where it is unclear who the baby’s biological father is, doing a paternity test as soon as the baby is born can remove any doubts and ensure that the relationship between the father and the child gets off to the best possible start.

However, we appreciate that the subject of paternity is a highly sensitive and personal issue that can have a significant impact on families.

Before doing a paternity test, it is worth considering your personal circumstances and how the outcome of the test might impact upon family relationships.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to seek counselling to help all parties deal with the aftermath of the results.

I’m the father – how can I ask the mother for a paternity test?

Asking for a paternity test can be a difficult and emotional experience for all parties involved, especially if you have doubts about whether the child you have been raising is your biological child.

When starting a conversation with your child’s mother about paternity testing, it is important to approach the conversation rationally, and avoid being insulting or accusatory.

Explain your reasons for wanting a paternity test in a calm and considered way. Whether it’s just to ease your mind of any worries or to eliminate any suspicions you might have.

Either way, mutual respect is important when starting a conversation about paternity testing. Approaching the issue carefully and considerately means that your partner will be more likely to give her approval for a paternity test to be performed.

An AlphaBiolabs paternity test is performed by collecting cheek (buccal) cells from the alleged father and the child and analysing and comparing DNA markers to determine which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the father.

For any DNA test (including paternity tests), consent must be obtained from all adults submitting their DNA for testing, in line with the Human Tissue Act 2004, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As the mother’s DNA is not required for a paternity test, her consent is not required to perform the test.

However, for children under the age of 16, consent for the child’s DNA to be tested must be provided by an adult with guardianship for the child.

I suspect my partner is not my child’s father – how can I ask him for a paternity test?

We appreciate that as a mother, starting a conversation with your partner regarding your child’s paternity can be very difficult.

Before discussing a paternity test with your partner, it’s important to think about the possible ramifications if you do not get the result you want.

The question of paternity can have a profound impact on a child’s relationship with their father and even his extended family, especially when dealing with the paternity of older children with whom the father has already developed a bond.

If you want to do a paternity test, you should carefully explain that you want the test for your partner’s wellbeing, as well as that of your child. Explain that doing a paternity test will provide an opportunity for him to know for sure that he is the father of your child, so that he knows you have his best interests at heart.

You will also want to discuss the potential implications for your relationship and your child’s future. Make sure you both understand what happens next, whether he is proven to be the child’s biological father or not.

If he is not the child’s father, do you want to stay in the relationship? What is going to be best for the child? As upsetting as these conversations can be, these discussions should take place early so that important decisions can be made about your family and your child’s future.

If you want to do a paternity test using the alleged father(s) DNA sample, you must have consent (a signature) from the alleged father(s) for the test to be performed.

However, if the alleged father has refused a paternity test or is unavailable to take the test for another reason, you can still choose to perform a relationship DNA test to determine a paternal relationship between family members.

AlphaBiolabs also provides sibling DNA testing to establish whether siblings share the same parents (a mother, father or both), and Y chromosome testing, which can confirm a paternal relationship between males.

Whichever test you choose, it’s important to remember that all adults taking part in the test must provide consent for their DNA samples to be tested. Without this consent, AlphaBiolabs cannot perform a DNA test.

My paternity test proves that my partner is not my child’s biological father. What do I do?

If you have had your results back from AlphaBiolabs and your partner is not the child’s biological father, there are many resources available online to guide you through the next steps.

If you have decided not to stay in a relationship and require a paternity test for legal reasons, such as child maintenance or custody matters, you can request a quote for a legal DNA test.

Unlike a peace of mind paternity test which is for your personal information and not admissible in court, sample collection for a legal DNA test is carried out under strict chain of custody conditions to ensure the DNA samples are obtained from the right people.

The results of a legal paternity test can then be used during legal proceedings as needed.

Where can I buy a paternity test?

Now you have decided to ask your partner for a paternity test, you can order your paternity test kit online today.

For questions and confidential advice, call our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Services team on 01 402 9466 or email

Order your home paternity test

Buy an AlphaBiolabs home DNA Paternity Test now from just €119.

Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

Casey Randall

Head of Genetics at AlphaBiolabs

Casey joined the AlphaBiolabs team in 2012 and heads up the DNA laboratory.

An expert in DNA analysis and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Casey holds an MSc with Distinction in DNA Profiling and a First-Class BSc with Honours in Forensic Science.

Casey is responsible for maintaining the highest quality testing standards, as well as looking for ways to further enhance the service that AlphaBiolabs provides and exploring new and innovative techniques in DNA analysis.

Related articles…