Prenatal DNA Paternity Testing

Prenatal DNA paternity testing is a way of identifying whether a man is a baby’s father before the baby is born. It is a non-invasive test that can be performed whilst the mother is pregnant (as early as 5 weeks after conception or 7 weeks after the last period).

By examining the baby’s DNA together with the parents’ DNA, it is possible to identify which half of the DNA is inherited from the mother and which half is from the father. If the tested man is indeed the biological father of the baby, both will share DNA. When the tested man is not the biological father there will be differences in the DNA of the man and the baby.

Consent is needed from both the man and the pregnant woman for the prenatal test to be performed. We understand that this can be an emotional time and can assure you that confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.

What samples do you need?

Prenatal paternity testing requires three samples:

  • the man’s DNA
  • the pregnant woman’s DNA, and
  • the unborn baby’s DNA

To analyse the baby’s DNA, it needs to be separated from the women’s DNA that is found within her bloodstream. Therefore, a blood sample is needed from the pregnant mother. This is usually taken from her arm and needs to be collected by a medical professional. There is no risk to the unborn child when taking this prenatal DNA test. No needles need to be inserted into the womb.

The mother’s blood sample needs to be collected by a nurse or phlebotomist at a local medical practice. The blood sample needs to be returned to AlphaBiolabs’ testing laboratory as soon as possible after being collected. This is to avoid the breakdown of red cells (haemolysis), which can have an effect on the laboratory results.

Mouth swabs are used to collect DNA samples from the alleged father. This is a simple process and just involves rubbing the inside of the cheek for at least 20 seconds to collect buccal cells. The man’s sample does not need to be collected at the same location as the mother’s blood sample. However, the samples should be collected around the same time to avoid any delays.

How is the prenatal paternity test performed?

When the samples are returned to AlphaBiolabs’ laboratory, the DNA is extracted. State-of-the-art equipment is used to separate the baby’s DNA from the mother’s DNA in the blood sample using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarray technology.

In-house scientists then examine up to 35 short tandem repeat (STR) markers in the three DNA profiles. The baby will have two copies of each STR marker, known as alleles: one is inherited from the father and the other from the mother. These alleles at each STR marker are compared between the donors. There needs to be a match with all STR markers tested for an inclusion of paternity.

AlphaBiolabs provides at least 99.9% probability of paternity where the father is confirmed as being the biological father.

Sometimes there is insufficient foetal DNA present in the sample. In this case, the mother is advised to wait a further 2 weeks before providing another blood sample. In some cases, foetal DNA never reaches a sufficient level for successful testing. AlphaBiolabs offers two prenatal paternity tests (free of charge), 2 weeks apart. If after three tests, the results are inconclusive, AlphaBiolabs will refund the price of your prenatal paternity test.

We are the fastest prenatal DNA tester in the industry

A lot of data are generated from our advanced DNA instrumentation, which then needs to be analysed by members of our expert team of DNA scientists. If samples fail to meet the quality criteria, they need to be reprocessed, which means a repeat of this lengthy process. This is why prenatal DNA testing is a much longer process than standard DNA relationship testing. However, despite this, AlphaBiolabs is still able to turnaround results within 4–7 days.

Further information on Prenatal DNA testing can be found in our FAQs below.

FAQs

 

How early can the prenatal DNA test be performed?

This non-invasive prenatal test can be carried out as early as 5 weeks after conception (or 7 weeks after the last period).  

How much does the prenatal DNA test cost?

The test costs €1095 for confidential results in 7 working days, from when the samples are received in the laboratory. Alternatively, you can upgrade to results in 4 working days for an extra €200.  

How do I order a prenatal DNA test?

You can order your test here. Alternatively, you can email info@alphabiolabs.ie or call Customer Services on 0333 600 1300. We can talk you through the process and outline the next steps.  

What samples are required?

Two mouth swabs are needed from the alleged father, and two samples of blood from the mother. You are responsible for the cost of all blood collections.  

Can the samples be collected at different locations?

The samples do not need to be collected at the same location. However, the samples should be collected around the same time to avoid any delays and the risk of the blood samples haemolysing.  

Is a DNA sample needed from the alleged father?

Yes. We need samples from both the mother and alleged father.  

What are the options for sample collection?

The blood samples are time sensitive and need to be collected by a trained nurse or a phlebotomist.  

What if a re-collection is required?

If the blood or mouth swabs have insufficient DNA then a re-collection may need to be arranged. AlphaBiolabs offers two further prenatal paternity tests, 2 weeks apart. If the testing is still unsuccessful after this time, results will not be possible and we will refund the price of the prenatal paternity test.  

Can the prenatal test harm the baby?

There is no risk to the unborn child when taking this test. Non-invasive prenatal testing uses a simple blood sample from the mother and therefore does not require a needle to be inserted into the womb.  

Are there any risks?

There is no risk to the baby other than the normal risk to the mother of having a blood sample taken.  

Why should invasive procedures be avoided?

To gain a sample of an unborn baby’s DNA invasively, a sample of amniotic fluid from the womb can be collected by inserting a needle through the abdomen: this procedure is called amniocentesis. Alternatively, a sample of tissue from the placenta can be collected by passing a needle through the wall of the abdomen, or by passing a catheter through the vagina and the neck of the womb: this procedure is called chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Both of these invasive methods incur a slight risk to the unborn child. There is a 1% chance of miscarriage with CVS and a 0.5% chance of miscarriage with amniocentesis.  

What are the chances of getting a conclusive result?

We provide at least 99.9% probability of paternity where the father is confirmed as being the biological father. In cases where there is insufficient foetal DNA present in the sample, we advise that the mother waits a further 2 weeks before providing another blood sample. AlphaBiolabs offers two further prenatal paternity tests, 2 weeks apart. If the testing is still unsuccessful after this time, results will not be possible and we will refund the price of the prenatal paternity test. 

What is the turnaround time?

Results can be made available in 4–7 working days depending on the level of service you choose.  

Can I get my results faster?

Our express service can get your results back to you in just 4 working days, from when the samples are received in the laboratory, for an additional €200.

Order your test online by clicking here or call AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300