Differences Between a Legal Test, Prenatal Test, & DNA Paternity Test Kit

When it comes to DNA paternity tests, there are different options available depending on your circumstances. Home test kits, legal, and prenatal testing are some of the most commonly chosen options. One form of DNA paternity testing isn’t the same as another form, so it’s important to know the difference between them before purchasing a kit or visiting a testing center. The reasoning behind each method of testing varies, and while you may have one testing option in mind, you may benefit more so from another.

DNA Test Kits
In some cases, DNA paternity tests aren’t required for legal reasons, but for added peace of mind. Sample collection works in the same way as a legal DNA test – using a buccal swab to collect DNA from the inner cheek. In cases where taking a DNA sample from a child discreetly is preferred, a toothbrush can be used in place of a swab. You don’t have to search exhaustively for a DNA paternity test kit; however, it’s important to choose a kit that verifies 21 genetic markers and offers nearly perfect accuracy.

Legal & Prenatal Tests
In addition to home kits, other types of DNA paternity tests include legal testing and prenatal testing. Legal testing and prenatal testing are completed for legal reasons. For instance, a court might order a legal test to settle discrepancies over child support. Typically, prenatal tests are completed before children are born so unmarried couples can list a legal father on an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. The form is then forwarded to NY’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, where the father is officially listed as the child’s father.

Sample Collection
DNA samples are collected differently, depending on the test being performed. For instance, in legal and non-legal tests, buccal swabs are used to swipe the inside of the cheek to collect DNA. Typically, the waiting time for results is only a few business days. In prenatal testing, blood is normally drawn from the mother alone or both parties to determine paternity. Regardless, the fetal genetic material in the mother’s blood is compared to the DNA collected from the alleged father. Results from prenatal tests take longer to receive than legal and non-legal tests – usually between 1 and 3 weeks.

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