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    Paternity Testing While Pregnant: How Can You Get a DNA Test Before Giving Birth?

    Published 14 June 2021
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    Reviewed by EBCOG, the European Board & College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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    A pregnant person might choose to take a paternity test before giving birth for a variety of reasons. Besides clarifying the second parent of a child, the result of a paternity test can be important for obtaining legal rights like child support, custody, benefits, and inheritance, as well as finding out medical factors that could affect your baby’s health. Keep reading to learn all about the different DNA tests you can get while pregnant plus their costs and safety profiles.

    What is a prenatal paternity test?

    A prenatal paternity test checks for a match between the potential parent’s DNA and your baby while you’re still pregnant. To determine paternity, DNA is taken from the mother and potential father and examined with a series of lab tests called DNA sequencing.

    Where to get a DNA test while pregnant

    Noninvasive prenatal paternity tests are available at laboratories. For people in the U.S., the American Pregnancy Association recommends labs with accreditation from The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) because they meet high standards for testing performance.

    Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis tests are normally done at a health care provider’s office or an outpatient facility and sent to a lab for analysis. 

    DNA paternity test cost

    The cost of a DNA test while you’re pregnant varies depending on the type of test. In the U.S., amniocentesis or CVS testing can cost over $500, while non-invasive tests are more expensive — around $1350 to $1750 depending on how quickly you want the results. Health insurance companies usually don’t cover this cost. 

    How accurate are prenatal paternity tests?

    These tests are extremely precise. They show with 99.9 percent accuracy whether a male is the parent of the baby.

    What types of paternity tests are available?

    People who want to take a paternity test before birth have three options. 

    Noninvasive prenatal paternity test (NIPP)

    From week seven of pregnancy through the first trimester, you can get a noninvasive prenatal paternity test. During this test, DNA is collected from the mother by a blood draw and from the father with a cheek swab. The samples are analyzed to compare the baby’s and possible father’s DNA. In general, results are available after one week.

    However, this test is not available for women carrying twins because the current technology can’t isolate DNA from both fetuses.

    Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

    In this procedure, a small tissue sample is taken from the placenta through the cervix or abdomen. The sample is then compared to the potential father’s DNA. Generally, the test occurs between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. Results can take several weeks.

    Unlike NIPP, this invasive sampling procedure does pose a risk to the baby.

    CVS can indicate whether a baby has a chromosomal condition like Down syndrome or genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis.