A prenatal paternity test can determine if a man is the father of a baby before the baby is born (during pregnancy).
A prenatal paternity test is a sensitive subject due to the ethical and moral issues involved, including the risks of an invasive test (see below). Many doctors are reluctant to perform a prenatal paternity test, especially if confirming the identity of the child's father is the only reason for the test.
For example, if a prenatal paternity test is done and the test result is unexpected, the woman may not want to continue the pregnancy. An unwanted paternity test result, however, is unlikely to be considered sufficient grounds for terminating a pregnancy (abortion).
If you're pregnant and thinking about a prenatal paternity test, talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you consider the issues involved, as well as advise you on the risks to you and your unborn baby. They can also organize counseling sessions.
Paternity tests can also be done after a baby is born. If you are considering a paternity test, it is important to consider the issues involved carefully. Paternity tests are not available on the NHS. DNA and prenatal paternity tests
A baby inherits DNA from both parents. A prenatal paternity test can determine if a man is the father of a baby by looking at samples containing:
the DNA of the man the DNA of the pregnant woman, and the DNA of the unborn child
The DNA of men and pregnant women
The man and the pregnant woman each provide a sample containing their DNA so that it can be analyzed. For example, a sample of cheek cells from inside the mouth or a blood sample.
If a DNA test: testdepaternite.net is necessary for legal reasons, the samples must be taken under strict conditions, as required by the court. For more information, see Can I get an NHS paternity test? unborn baby DNA
In order for the unborn baby's DNA to be tested, the pregnant woman will also need to provide a sample of: fluid from the womb (amniotic fluid) containing cells from the baby, or tissue from the placenta
A sample of fluid from the uterus is collected by inserting a needle through the abdomen. This procedure is called amniocentesis.
A tissue sample from the placenta is taken by passing a needle through the wall of the abdomen, passing a small tube through the vagina and cervix. This procedure is called Choriocentesis (CVS).
Both amniocentesis and CVS have a small risk of miscarriage.