Paternity test after birth

Paternity testing after a baby is born is a highly accurate method of identifying whether a man is a baby’s biological father.  

A paternity DNA test is a safe, non-invasive way of establishing paternity where there are questions around who the father is.

This guide outlines what you need to know about paternity testing once a baby is born.

Why do we do paternity testing?

In an ideal world, all children would know the identity of both their parents, but sadly this is not always the case.

It has been estimated that between five and 20 per cent of children in the UK believe the wrong person is their father, although it is impossible to know the exact figure.

Peace of mind paternity tests provide an accurate, cost-effective way of finding out the facts. Delaying the truth can have a huge impact on a child who forms a bond with a man who turns out not to be their father at a later stage, causing emotional trauma for both parties.

When should I consider doing a paternity test?

In situations where it is unclear who the baby’s biological father is, doing a paternity test as soon as the baby is born can remove any doubts and ensure that the relationship between the father and the child gets off to the best possible start.

However, we appreciate that the subject of paternity is a highly sensitive and personal issue that can have a significant impact on families.

When should I consider doing a paternity test?

Before doing a paternity test, it is worth considering your personal circumstances and how the outcome of the test might impact upon family relationships.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to seek counselling to help all parties deal with the aftermath of the results.

What is a peace of mind paternity test?

Peace of mind paternity tests are done purely for your own information, and the paternity test kit is sent out to an address of your choice, so that you can collect the swab samples at a time that is convenient for you.

You can then post them back to our laboratory for the required analysis and we will email out a report which will confirm the probability of paternity.

This test is extremely accurate, but it cannot be used for legal reasons because the sample has not been taken by someone impartial.

How soon after birth can a paternity test be done?

A DNA paternity test can be done immediately following birth and any time thereafter.

Probability of paternity is determined by taking buccal (cheek) cells collected from the alleged father and the baby and then comparing the DNA from the baby with that of the alleged father.

The cheek cells are collected using a swab – like a cotton bud – which is very quick and painless and should cause no distress to the baby.

How does a paternity test work on a baby that has recently been born?

All our peace of mind paternity tests are performed in the same way, whether the child in question is a newborn or an adult.

Our paternity testing works by comparing a child’s DNA profile with that of the alleged father(s).

The test looks at up to 42 DNA markers to identify which half of the baby’s DNA is inherited from the alleged father.

Every person inherits half of their DNA from each of their biological parents, so such a comparison can help us to establish the probability of paternity.

When testing the biological father of the baby, both will share identical sections of DNA at each marker. When the man tested is not the biological father, this will not be the case.

How are the DNA samples collected?

How are the DNA samples collected?

It’s important to note that a paternity test cannot be performed without the consent of all parties involved in the testing.

For children under the age of 16, consent for their DNA to be used in the test can only be provided by those who have parental responsibility for the child. Under UK law, a mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth. The father has parental responsibility if he is either:

  • Married to the child’s mother
  • Listed on the birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in)

To do a paternity test, buccal (cheek) swabs are used to collect cheek cells containing each person’s DNA. Your kit will contain two swabs for each person taking the test – two for the alleged father and two for the child.

Once you have received your DNA paternity test kit and completed the enclosed request/consent form, you can then take the test. The mouth swabs simply need to be rubbed firmly on the inside of each donor’s cheek for at least 20 seconds to collect cheek cells.

These swabs are then sealed inside the individual test sample envelopes provided in your kit, before being posted back to our laboratory for analysis.

How much does it cost to get a paternity test after a baby has been born?

An AlphaBiolabs home DNA paternity testing kit costs £99 (to test one child), with results available the next working day.

The test costs £169 for same-day results.

How soon will I receive my test?

Provided you instruct us before 2pm, the kit is sent out the same day via first-class post.

How quickly will I receive my results?

Our £99 home paternity testing kits offer results by the next working day. For £169 you can choose to receive your results on the same working day.

Can a home DNA paternity testing kit be used to change a birth certificate?

A peace of mind paternity test cannot be used to change a birth certificate.

If you are seeking a paternity test with a view to changing a birth certificate, you will need to purchase a legal DNA paternity test. These tests are just as accurate as a peace of mind paternity test but are carried out under strict chain of custody conditions, to ensure that the individual undergoing the DNA testing is indeed who they say they are.

However, a peace of mind paternity test may be useful in the first instance to determine the outcome of the test, prior to seeking legal advice or instructing legal DNA testing.

How do I add the biological father’s name to a birth certificate?

To record the biological father on a birth certificate, an application needs to be made to the General Register Office (GRO)to re-register the birth.

If both parents agree, the child’s surname can usually be changed upon re-registration, although some restrictions may apply.

A child aged 16 years old, or over, will also need to consent to the change. However, it is worth noting that a birth cannot be re-registered just to change a child’s surname.

How do I change the father’s name on a birth certificate?

You can only apply to change the name of a child’s father on a birth certificate if a legal DNA test proves (or a court order says) that the man named on the certificate is not the natural father.

If you can produce your legal DNA paternity test results to the General Register Office proving that the person recorded on the child’s birth certificate is not the child’s biological father, you can apply to have his details amended.

However, it is important to note that if a subsequent birth certificate is issued, it will still show the incorrect details but there will be a note indicating that the named father’s details have been entered in error.

How can I get a paternity test done after birth?

AlphaBiolabs’ non-invasive DNA paternity testing provides the most accurate way to determine paternity after a baby has been born.

Want to learn more about our paternity testing? Call 0333 600 1300 or email and a member of our Customer Services team will be in touch.

Last reviewed: 01/03/2022
Casey Randall

Casey Randall

Head of DNA and Covid Testing at AlphaBiolabs

Casey joined the AlphaBiolabs team in 2012 and heads up both the DNA and Covid-19 testing teams.

An expert in DNA analysis and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Casey holds an MSc with Distinction in DNA Profiling and a First-Class BSc with Honours in Forensic Science.

Casey is responsible for maintaining the highest quality testing standards, as well as looking for ways to further enhance the service that AlphaBiolabs provides and exploring new and innovative techniques in DNA analysis.

Connect with Casey on LinkedIn

Related articles…

Paternity Testing While Pregnant

Learn about our prenatal paternity testing process here.

How much does a paternity test cost?

We answer some of the most common questions relating to the cost of a DNA paternity test.

Paternity test without mother

We are often asked whether a paternity test can be carried out without the mother’s DNA. Learn more here.