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DNA Paternity Testing

Paternity Testing in Canada and the USA

Reviewed / Updated June 14, 2013

As of June 7, 2013, the Canadian Chiuldren's Rights Council will be reveiwing information about the latest non-invasive prenatal paternity testingand companies that do such testing. You can call us for the most current information that we have.

We don't sell paternity testing and we don't give out the names of paternity testing companies.

NON-INVASIVE Prenatal  DNA Paternity Testing in Canada and the USA

Information below is part of our information on paternity testing. We have a whole webpage regarding the NON-INVASIVE Prenatal DNA paternity testing click here

Paternity Testing Before Birth

A DNA paternity test can be performed accurately before a child is born through amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and NON-Invasive prenatal paternity testing (fetal genetic material testing) at between 8 - 13 weeks into the pregnancy. There are a few companies in the USA and Canada that claim they are doing this type of testing.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Genetic Paternity Testing
Non-invasive paternity testing during the term of pregnancy is now available. Traditionally, prenatal testing required samples obtained by means of  CVS (Chorionic Villi Sampling) or Amniocentesis by means of a long needle inserted into the pregnant  female's abdomen into the uterus to get either a sample of the placenta or amniotic fluid. In many cases such sample collection was difficult and the risks to the fetus may not warrant such invasive procedures. Through application of research technology it is now possible to determine the paternity of an unborn child using a simple maternal blood sample and a cell sample collected from alleged fathers by means of a swabbing of cheek cells from the inside of the alleged father's mouth.

Non-Invasive prenatal testing utilizes a procedure that uses a mother's blood sample to separate the necessary fetal cells or dna materials ( nuclea acid) carried in the mother's blood. These fetal cells are utilized in determining paternity relationships. Samples are obtained from all parties to be tested including the expecting mother. Once all samples have been received by the laboratory an extraction procedure is used to separate primordial fetal cells from the maternal blood samples. Since 2002 Canadian scientists have Recent research has shown that fetal cells are extractable after 10 weeks fetal gestation.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing will determine the paternity of an unborn child with one alleged father for about $1,000 (Cdn) - $990 ($US). Each additional putative father tested costs about $100 (Cdn). Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing is more safe and cost effective than traditional invasive prenatal testing.

There were until recently some restrictions on which women can use this method of paternity testing. Formerly a questionnaire was used before testing to determine if the pregnant woman was a candidate for this type of testing. Women who have been pregnant before may have fetal cells from the previous pregnancy in their bodies for 20+ years. In 2008 that changed, one Canadian company that has been developing this technology since 2002 stated that they had a 100% accuracy rate for all women over 13 weeks tested in the past year. That company provides in the cost a mandatory confirming paternity test right after birth.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)(Invasive)
Chorionic Villus Sampling is usually performed at very early stages of pregnancy, generally around the 8th to 14th week of pregnancy. During the CVS procedure, a catheter is inserted through the cervix and a small sample is taken from the outside of the gestational sack by gentle suction. This sampling procedure allows the obstetrician to obtain a small amount of fetal chorionic villi (trophoblastic tissue) which is used for the paternity test. Paternity tests conducted using CVs samples are just as accurate as tests which are performed after the child is born.

Some provinces / territories in Canada don't allow this procedure for the purpose of establishing paternity. It is sometimes considered to be a private medical practice item which is therefore not allowed. For example, some companies that selling paternity testing to Ontario residents have stated that they arrange for appointments with doctors (OB/GYN) in Quebec or the U.S.A. ( ie Buffalo, NY ) for  women that want a sample collected for the purpose of establishing paternity before birth. For more information see the web pages regarding prenatal testing and the associated risks on the website of the  Mayo Clinic in the USA , one of the foremost medical institutions in the world. The collection fee to the doctor can be expensive.

Amniocentesis(Invasive)
 Amniocentesis is generally performed at later stages of pregnancy ( after 14 weeks). During an amniocenteses procedure, a small amount of amniotic fluid (10ml) is withdrawn transabdominally by an obstetrician specialist doctor. Amniotic fluid can be used for paternity testing. Paternity tests which are performed using amniotic fluid are just as accurate as tests conducted after the child is born.

We have read that this procedure may result in an unplanned abortion of the fetus in 1-2% of  such procedures. Consult a medical doctor or other competent medical authority to get information on the risks of this or any medical procedures before submitting to a medical procedure. Do not rely on our information or that of others who are not medical authorities. See our disclaimer at the bottom of this web page.

In Ontario, the government health plan covers the cost for Amniocentesis testing of pregnant  women over 35 years old on the recommendation of their doctor.  A sample may be sent to the paternity testing company of your choice at your cost for paternity testing. Consult with your doctor for full details on what is currently covered by the health plan, and what may be best for you under your circumstances.

If you choose chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, results are usually available 3 to 5 working days after specimen collection. The cost for DNA testing is the same as the cost for the regular paternity test, however, there may be additional charges imposed by your obstetrician for collecting the sample prenatally.

In some provinces, such as Quebec, private medical practice is allowed, so amniocentesis for the purpose of establishing paternity is allowed and is paid for by the patient and not by the government health insurance plan.

The Human Side of Not Knowing Which Man is the Father

Some women don't want this invasive procedure and the risks associate with it for the sole purpose of establishing paternity. Other women have expressed to us that they want the procedure after considering the medical risks to the fetus.

In general terms, these woman have often told multiple men they were dating at the time of conception that they may become a father and all 3 or more people, ( the woman, and 2 or more men) all face the difficult circumstance of not knowing and the mental turmoil, distress, and confusion in their families and extended families with the complications of multiple male potential fathers and not knowing the identity of the father.

Public policy on government allowed medical procedures and government funding of paternity testing has not been publicly debated in provincial legislatures and has not been addressed fully. Both men and women have expressed their mental anguish with not knowing the identity of the father. Dealing with 2 or more 1st time potential fathers while going through a pregnancy can be extremely difficult for both the pregnant woman and the potential fathers for 9 months of pregnancy.


The position of the Canadian Children's rights Council

Don't be too quick to judge the sexual conduct of these men and women. The men and the woman ( possibly even children having children) may not have made representations that they were in a monogamous relationship. The position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council is that children's identity rights should be provided expeditiously at or before birth as soon as technologically feasible by non-invasive means. See our section on why we advocate  for mandatory paternity testing as soon as available after birth or even before birth when non-invasive prenatal DNA paternity testing is widely available. We advocate for such testing to be paid for by government health insurance plans for everyone.

NON-Invasive DNA paternity Testing, Abortions and New Choices for Women

Some women that have inquired about the NON-Invasive DNA Paternity testing have stated that since it is done at a time when they can still choose an abortion, they wish to terminate the pregnancy if the father is one certain man but continue the pregnancy,  give birth and raise the child by themselves should the father be of superior genes and financial means. Since the beginning of time, females of all species have chosen the best genetic breeders and sought the best providers to support their offspring.  It's called survival of the fittest of the species. This has always been part of choice / abortions for women. A female child, youth or woman can have an abortion in Canada which is paid for by the government health insurance plans. No parental permission for abortion is required for any child / youth female, no matter what her age.

Selling sperm in Canada is illegal, but in the USA, successful, healthy, attractive, wealthy, men have sperm sales agents who sell their sperm to women or couples seeking good genetic traits for their offspring. Do a Google search on this for more information. Also research the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act for more information.


Risks Regarding Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and Amniocentesis
 Although a DNA paternity test can be easily performed using either a chorionic villus sample or amniotic fluid sample, it should be noted that both procedures carry some risk to the fetus and pregnant woman. Some studies have indicated that the chances of fetal loss are increased by 0.5% for amniocentesis and 1% for chorionic villus sampling. Elsewhere, rates of 1-2% are quoted. Consult your doctor and competent medical authorities for their professional medical opinion after examining the patients personal medical case history and condition. We are not a competent medical authority.

Paternity testers recommend patients who are considering Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis prenatal DNA paternity testing consult with their obstetrician before initiating/ordering the test from the paternity testing company.


Paternity testing at the time of birth

If you are in a hurry to know the paternity of your child, you can also consider testing the child at the time of delivery using umbilical cord blood, which will pose no risk to the child. Paternity testers will be able to provide results 3 to 5 working days after the samples are collected. If you would like to test the child at the time of delivery, please contact the paternity testers in advance to arrange for testing and to have an umbilical cord blood collection kit forwarded to your physician before the due date or to you for you to take to the hospital when giving birth.

Results are usually available within 3 to 7 days.


The Cost

The cost for a DNA paternity test involving a chorionic villus sample or an amniotic fluid sample is the same as a standard paternity test. Sample collection is arranged by the patients with their obstetrician, and any fees imposed by the obstetrician for the amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling procedure are the responsibility of the patient. Once an appointment is arranged with your obstetrician, the laboratory will contact your obstetrician directly to arrange the details for specimen requirements. Comprehensive results stating inclusion of 99.9% (or more) or exclusion of 100% are provided for all prenatal paternity tests. Costs vary and were about $500 (Cdn/USD) in total in February 2008. There is an additional small charge for each additional male tested at the same time. You need to ask about extra costs and which costs are included. Some companies include the sample collection costs done by their won staff at their facilities while charging extra if the samples are collected using a 3rd party source such as a local medical laboratory collection site located near you. For example, they may incur courier costs from the collection site to their lab which may vary and for which they can't include in their general fee.


"Free Home Paternity Test Kits"

We came across some websites advertising "free home paternity testing kits". There are no paternity tests for home use. There are "Free Home Paternity Kits" which are sample collection kits. These sample collection kits contain buccal swabs ( sometimes colour coded, made of dacron but similar to cotton swabs or Q-Tips found in your bathroom), envelopes and directions on how to wipe the inside of your cheeks and gums to get a good collection of cheek cells ( not saliva ) as a dna sample to be submitted for a paternity test.

Do not think that "home dna paternity test kits" are like "home pregnancy test kits". Pregnancy testing kits provide a test result at home.

We found some large American retailers selling "Home DNA Paternity Testing Kits" for $29.99 USD.  What you get is a paper with directions on how to properly wipe the inside of your cheeks to get cheek cells, some buccal swabs, envelopes to put the samples into and a postage paid envelope to send the samples to a paternity testing company. The cost of the paternity test is extra. Save your $29.99 plus sales tax(es). Some reputable paternity testing companies even provide on their website downloadable instructions that you can use.  These kits aren't being sold in Canada as far as we know as of February, 2008.

Some reputable companies skip the sales pitch about giving you something for free ( that is, at best, worth a couple of bucks for the postage paid envelope) and email you directions on what to do to properly get the cheek cell samples using Q-Tips from your medicine cabinet and keeping the samples separated etc..

Pricing ranges for paternity testing kits that are not legally binding versus samples collected by use of a technician at a normal medical laboratory which involves a trail of evidence including taking a picture and a fingerprint for the record of each person tested. Kits start at about $200 (Cdn). We have found many of these tests questionable.

Watch out for some companies selling paternity tests on the internet. READ our web page on this situation and tactics.  click here


Why is establishing paternity important?

Information for Americans

Most states have laws that require an unmarried couple to fill out an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form to legally establish who the father is. If the couple is unmarried and the mother has not been married in the last 300 days, then no father will be listed on the birth certificate until this legally binding form is filled out. The AOP is sent to the states Bureau of Vital statistics, is recorded, and the father listed becomes the legal father.

If there is a question on who the father is, then paternity testing should be done as soon as possible. After the AOP is signed, couples have 60 days to request a DNA paternity test to be done and amend the AOP, or the father previously listed on the AOP could be held legally responsible for the child even if he is not the biological father.

If the mother is married to someone other than the father of the baby or has not been divorced for over 300 days, her husband is presumed to be the father of the baby. The biological father can only be named the legal father if he fills out an AOP and the husband also signs a denial of paternity. If the husband does not sign the denial of paternity, then either biological parent would need to take action in court to establish true paternity.

During the time that no father is listed as legal father, the baby's rights are not fully protected. Naming a legal father is vital in ensuring that the baby is eligible for child support, and benefits such as social security, veterans benefits, and health care. More important yet is supporting the baby's relationship rights with their biological father and/or informed social father, as the case may be.

For more information regarding naming a legal father and filing an AOP, contact your state attorney generals office.


Information for Canadians

Committing paternity fraud or providing false information about the identity of a child on a "Statement of Live Birth", the form used to register a birth in Ontario or on a similar form in other provinces or territories with registrars of vital statistics, is a serious matter.

In some provinces the statute may say that providing false information has a maximum penalty of a fine of $100,000 plus 6 months in jail. The Canadian Children's Rights Council advocates for stringent enforcement of penalties in order to protect children's identity rights, their relationship rights from birth to be raised by both their biological parents. The legal cost to change this later can be horrendous and may result in legal action and the award by the court of court costs against a woman taken to court by a man who turns out to be the biological father of her child or by an irate husband who sues his wife for birthing a child as a result of infidelity and who has represented the child to be her husbands.

There have been numerous cases of financial awards around the world to husband victims of paternity fraud. You can read on this website about an Ontario Court ordering that the ex-husband not pay child support for children that the wife had purported to be his biological children. See our section on paternity fraud which has many web pages on the topic..

One such case is that of K.L.B. v. J.M., [2005] O.J. No. 998 (O.C.J.), (Woodstock, Ontario Registry No. D257/01) of March 1, 2005.  The child was born on 4 May 2001 and the ex-husband had signed the forms to register the child's birth under false pretences. The ex-husband consented to an order dated 20 December 2001 wherein he was granted joint custody and paid child support. However, notwithstanding his nagging doubts about paternity dating back even to December 2001, the ex-husband waited until October 2002 to surreptitiously have genetic testing carried out. The result was that he was not the father at all and the court found in his favour. The court found that he should not have to pay child financial support.  more..

The best and often only time that identification can be made in some cases is near the time of birth.

When identity secrets are found out years later, it can be very damaging to everyone.  The search for identity in cases of adoption when children grow up and seek out information about their biological parents is well known and illustrates the importance of these biological relationships as well as social relationships.

More and more court judgements of family court, some of which you can read on this website, terminate financial support paid by men falsely identified to be the biological father and were "duped" into raising children fathered by others. The human need to carry on the family heritage through reproduction is strong human need.

Canadian laws often follow those made in Australia and the UK. In June 2005, Australia enacted new family law which provides for the man wrongfully identified as the father to get back child financial support and the cost of raising a child which he falsely believed was his biological child. There have also been a number of civil lawsuits around the world ( France, Korea, The U.S.A. and Australia to mention a few) in which men were awarded substantial amounts of damages for the mental anguish etc. caused by paternity fraud. You will find some of these judgments on this website.


Blood Type Comparison Can Sometimes Disprove Paternity

Paternity can be disproved in some cases by simply comparing blood types of the mother, child and alleged father. We have a blood type chart to assist you. More ..

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