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With increasing numbers of babies being born as a result of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, DNA testing can give you peace of mind over the biological identity of your child.

While this fertility treatment has given the gift of parenthood to large numbers of people who are unable to conceive naturally, it can also bring potential doubts over both the paternity and maternity of the resulting baby.

Although mistakes and mix-ups are extremely rare, DNA testing can establish the identity of a child’s biological mother and father for certain.

DNA testing after IVF

Statistics from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that in 2017,

54,760 patients underwent 75,425 fertility treatment cycles in the UK. Donor insemination and IVF made up the majority of treatments.

During the IVF process, doctors collect eggs from the mother and fertilise then with sperm from the father or a donor. In 2017, 13% of IVF procedures involved the use of donor eggs and/or donor sperm. This percentage is increasing annually.

Fertilisation takes place in a laboratory and the resulting embryo is then implanted in the mother’s womb. As the fertilisation process takes place in a clinic or hospital, there is a small risk that there could be a mix-up which could result in a woman carrying a child which is not biologically related to her. Although mistakes of this kind are rare, parents might find it reassuring to take a paternity test or a maternity test for their peace of mind. It is also possible to take a prenatal DNA test so if there have been any errors, they will be discovered before the child is born.

What kind of DNA test do I need?

The purpose of a DNA maternity test is to ascertain if there is a biological relationship between a child and a mother. It can confirm that the correct embryo was implanted into her uterus. DNA paternity tests establish whether there is a biological link between a father and a child.

Both of these tests can be performed in newborn babies by collecting a DNA sample immediately after birth. This simple process just involves rubbing a mouth swab on the inside of the baby’s cheek for about 20 seconds. This collects a sample of buccal cells, which can then be analysed for the DNA back at our laboratory. This method of collecting cheek cells is very quick and painless, and should cause no distress to the baby. A paternity test would also require a mouth swab from the father. The mother would need to provide a similar sample for a maternity test. Results can be made available the day after the samples are received in the laboratory for £99. Same day results can also be made available for an extra £70.

Prenatal paternity testing after IVF

Prenatal paternity testing can be performed before a baby is born to confirm if the sperm donor is the biological father. This confirmation can only be made when the mother is certain she is carrying her own embryo. The test can be performed from as early as 6 weeks after conception (or 8 weeks after the last period). This non-invasive method requires a mouth swab from the sperm donor and a blood sample from the mother. There is no risk to the mother or the unborn child when taking this test.

Prenatal paternity testing costs £875 for confidential results in 7 working days. Alternatively, an express 4-day service is available for an extra £200. Interest-free credit options are available. More information on prenatal paternity testing can be read in our Learning Centre article.

Further details on peace of mind paternity tests, maternity tests and prenatal paternity tests can be accessed at our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have any other queries, please call Customer Services on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com