Who would use home paternity tests?
Relationships can often be complex. Babies can be conceived during times of turmoil and more than one man could be the father. Sometimes, the mother in this situation wants to know who the father of her child is and may ask the possible father(s) to provide a sample for a DNA test to prove paternity. Having a home paternity test saves you having to have sample taken by a doctor or nurse – you can just do it at home and send it off.
It is also common for men not to be able to move on with their lives unless they know for certain whether they are the father of a child. If you do not need to prove your paternity legally, but would still like to know, a home paternity test offers a much cheaper way to find out.
Are results from home paternity tests accepted in court?
If your relationship with the child’s mother has broken down, you might find yourself having to prove that you are, or are not, the biological father of her child. If you are a mother whose partner claims not to be the father, you will need a legal paternity test before you can make any claim for child maintenance.
The results of home paternity tests are not legally defensible – they are not accepted as evidence in a court of law. Home paternity tests involve you taking the samples yourself in your own home and this invalidates its use in a UK Court of Law. To gain evidence of paternity that is admissible in court you need to have samples taken by an independent professional to guarantee that the samples have come from you, the baby in the custody or child support case, and from the biological mother. Documentary proof of identity is also needed.
In this case, you may need to go along to your own practice nurse or GP, who sends in the samples and declares they are genuine, or you might have to attend a laboratory or other centre to have the samples taken
How do home paternity tests work?
Home paternity tests compare the DNA from the cheek cells of the baby to the DNA of its mother and the possible father. The test process is complex but basically produces a series of pictures that trained experts can analyse very accurately. Knowing that half the DNA of the baby comes from the mother and half from the father, they can compare the pictures produced by the DNA of the trio – the man, mother and child – to show whether or not the man is the biological father.
Consent for home paternity tests
In the UK, everyone providing a sample to be used in a home paternity test must consent to their DNA being tested. Each adult must sign a consent form, and the mother of the child, or someone who is a legal guardian of the child, must sign their consent for the baby to be tested. It is therefore not possible for a man to provide the DNA sample of a baby that he only thinks may be his as he is unable to provide consent for testing. This consent must be given by the mother, or another guardian.
What do home paternity tests cost?
Home paternity tests are offered by various private commercial companies in the UK. Fees can vary but as a general rule, tests that are carried out for peace of mind come in well under £200. One company quotes £159. Legal home paternity tests cost more – usually around £400 – as extra fees are required to cover the cost of an independent professional in sample collection.