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In our latest expert article we answer some of the most common questions about prenatal testing – such as what is a prenatal paternity test? What does the test involve? And how does prenatal testing work? Read on to find out more…

What is a prenatal paternity test?

Prenatal DNA tests are paternity tests which can be carried out during pregnancy to determine the identity of the baby’s father.

Traditionally, paternity tests are carried out after birth but waiting until the baby’s arrival to find out the truth can make pregnancy a stressful and uncertain time. Prenatal tests allow the potential father to find out whether he is biologically related to the baby as early as 6 weeks after conception.

What does a prenatal paternity test involve?

The prenatal paternity test offered by AlphaBiolabs examines the baby’s DNA by collecting it from a sample of the mother’s blood. During pregnancy, DNA from the foetus enters the expectant mother’s bloodstream and scientific advances mean this can now be identified, separated and tested.

The baby’s DNA will then be compared to the DNA samples collected from the mother and potential father. A sample of cheek cells is collected from the alleged father using a quick and painless mouth swab.

As our test uses a blood sample from the mother, it is completely non-invasive and poses no risk at all to the pregnancy. It differs from other prenatal DNA tests, which involve procedures that extract amniotic fluid from the womb using a needle and carry a small risk of causing a miscarriage.

Once our geneticists have DNA from the baby, mother and potential father, they will be able to tell whether the man and foetus are biologically related. This is because the baby inherits half of his or her genes from each parent so if the tested man is not the father there will be differences in their DNA.

The testing process is completely confidential but we must have the consent of both people providing DNA samples.

How are the samples collected?

The mother’s blood sample must be collected by someone who has been professionally trained. This could be a nurse, phlebotomist or one of AlphaBiolabs’ expert sample collectors. We would also recommend that the mouth swabs are taken by a sample collector to avoid the risk of cross-contamination or an insufficient sample.

The mother and potential father do not have to give their samples in the same place but we do recommend they are collected at a similar time to avoid any delays. It is also essential that the blood samples are sent immediately to the laboratory as red blood cells break down over time, causing potential issues with testing.

You can arrange for one of our sample collectors to visit you in a convenient location to suit you or you can attend one of our Walk in Centres found all over the UK. Our Walk in Centres could help you save money on collection fees and allow both parties to provide their samples at the same time if they wish.

How does a prenatal paternity test work?

Our highly skilled genetic team will analyse up to 35 short tandem repeat (STR) markers in the mother, alleged father and baby’s DNA profiles. The foetus will have two copies of every STR marker, referred to as alleles. One of these copies will come from his or her father while the other will be inherited from the mother. If both the sample donors are the baby’s biological parents then all the STR markers will match. If there are differences, then the testers will conclude that the man is not the father.

Prenatal paternity tests offered by our competitors usually have a turnaround time of several weeks. However, we understand that waiting can be very challenging so we have worked hard to develop our testing process so we can provide the results within 4–7 days.

The test is available for £875 and you will receive your results in 7 working days. For an extra £200, you can speed up the process and you will be sent your results in just 4 working days.

Don’t let uncertainty and doubt ruin your pregnancy. Order your prenatal paternity DNA test online now. If you would like to find out more, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com