It is estimated that in the UK, 1 in 50 dads unknowingly raise another father’s child [1]. Whilst a child’s mother is usually obvious, only DNA testing can confirm paternity and name an individual as a father. But does mum need to partake in this testing? The answer depends on whether a Peace of Mind or Legal paternity test is needed.

The way paternity tests prove parentage is by analysing DNA within samples provided by the family members (usually from cheek buccal cells). By looking at specific DNA markers in each sample, it is possible to identify which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the mother and which half is from the father. When testing a biological father, both child and father will share identical sections of DNA at each marker. When the tested man is not the biological father there will be differences in the DNA.

Mum does not need to take part in this DNA testing. Samples can just be analysed from the alleged father and the child. At AlphaBiolabs, however, we always request a DNA sample from mum – if possible – as it can increase the accuracy of the results. Unlike some other testing companies, we don’t charge for this extra sample. When the mother’s DNA sample is included it is possible to identify which of the child’s DNA comes from her, leaving the paternal DNA to compare against the alleged father. Probability of paternity can thus be calculated with much greater certainty when mum is tested. So although not necessary, mum’s involvement is preferred. However, if you order a test and mum is unable to take part, you will still receive a conclusive result.

Peace of Mind DNA testing kits can be easily acquired at Home Bargains stores or they can be posted direct to your home from our testing laboratory. A mother’s permission is not needed for Peace of Mind paternity tests as long as the father has parental responsibility for the child. If a mother refuses to determine paternity for legal reasons, a court can order a paternity test to be performed. A mother has to give her consent for children to have a DNA test but the court can override any refusal if it considers it’s in the child’s best interest for the sample to be taken.

More information on whether a mother can refuse a paternity test can be read on our Learning centre here.

For details of which DNA testing service is right for you, please contact AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300; email: info@alphabiolabs.com; www.alphabiolabs.co.uk.

[1] Larmuseau M, Matthijs K, Wenseleers T. Cuckolded fathers rare in human populations. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2016(31):327–329