How to check whether you are the father of a child
The best way to determine whether or not you are the biological father of a child is to undergo paternity testing. Before you commit to the process, you might want to take a quick look at some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is DNA?
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) exists in every cell in our bodies, and it is where we can find our genetic code. Although 99.9% of all human DNA is identical, it is that minute 0.01% that makes us the individuals that we are. Our DNA can determine everything from our hair colour, eye colour to certain aspects of our personality.
How is a DNA test carried out?
No matter your reason for taking a DNA test, the procedure will almost always be the same. First, a sample will be taken from the individual by rubbing the inside of their cheek with a small brush or a cotton swab to collect buccal cells. If this type of procedure isn’t possible, samples of hair, blood, skin and other tissue can also be analysed.
Will the results be 100% accurate?
The current science involved in DNA testing means that there is a probability of 99% accuracy that there is a biological relationship or a 100% certainty that there is no biological relationship.
What is gene mutation?
Our genes are made up of four chemicals (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine), and the order of these within a DNA strand will determine the genetic sequence. A gene mutation refers to when one or more of these chemicals are in a different order or don’t appear at all. If a gene mutation occurs in the DNA being used for testing, the result will not be a match. This can occur in anyone, and if you suspect that you have a gene mutation, more tests can be carried out to confirm the mutation and rule out such an exclusion.
What is the Paternity Index (PI)?
A Paternity Index will provide the odds that the person believed to be the father is indeed the biological father of the tested child. Each DNA segment in the wider population is variable, but it depends on how large the segment is and the race of the person who has been tested as the potential father. Knowing the race of the alleged father is important in analysis, but if someone is unsure about their racial heritage, analysts will tend to use the lowest PI of all available races. This can calculate the probability of paternity (POP).
Can a DNA test take place if the sample required is from a person who is deceased or unavailable?
If the person in question has died, a DNA sample may be available if a post-mortem was carried out or if tissue was collected before death by the hospital. If no samples are available, other members of the deceased’s family can provide DNA samples to establish paternity. This is known as genetic reconstruction, and as many family members as possible are needed to calculate an accurate result.