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Paternity test without father

A paternity DNA test is the best possible way to determine who a child’s biological father is.

Thanks to accredited testing laboratories like AlphaBiolabs, it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to find out the truth about a child’s father, whether for peace of mind or legal reasons.

But can you do a paternity test without the father’s DNA? And what options are available if your baby’s (alleged) father is refusing a paternity test?

In this article, we explore whether you can perform a paternity test without the father, and what other options are available for people who want to find out the truth about their child’s parentage.

Table of contents
  • How does a paternity DNA test work?
  • Can I do a paternity test without the father?
  • Can a father refuse a paternity test?
  • Can I do a paternity test without the father’s consent or knowledge?
  • The father is not available for a paternity test. What other options do I have?
  • The father has passed away – can I still do a paternity test?
  • Where can I get a paternity test without the father?

How does a paternity DNA test work?

A peace of mind paternity test is performed by taking cheek (buccal) swabs from the alleged father and comparing his DNA sample with the cheek swab DNA of the child. 

An AlphaBiolabs paternity test analyses up to 42 DNA markers to determine which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the father.

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

As the name implies, a peace of mind paternity test is for your information only and cannot be used in legal proceedings.

Can I do a paternity test without the father?

In most instances, the alleged father of the child will be available to provide a cheek (buccal) swab for paternity testing.

However, there are many circumstances where the alleged father might not be available to take a paternity test.

He might be refusing to take a paternity test for legal reasons, such as avoiding paying child maintenance. He might not want to face the potential ramifications of the results. Or it may be that the alleged father has sadly passed away or is unavailable for another reason (e.g., imprisonment).

Whatever the situation, if you are looking to perform a paternity test without the father, it is important to remember that written authority is needed from all adults whose DNA samples are provided for testing.

It is illegal to obtain a DNA sample from an alleged father for testing without his knowledge. Failing to obtain or to misuse consent could result in penalties of up to three years in prison, a fine, or both.

If the child’s father has passed away recently, you can still choose to perform a paternity test, but consent would be required from the next of kin. In this case, a viability study can be performed to analyse the deceased’s nail clippings or a used toothbrush to see if a DNA profile can be obtained.

If the alleged father has been deceased for some time, an alternative relationship DNA test using DNA from other family members can be used to determine a biological relationship. We’ll explore the options for DNA relationship tests to establish paternity in this article.

For legal matters, such as the Child Maintenance Service (formerly the CSA), custody disputes, immigration applications, inheritance or probate disputes or changing the name on a birth certificate, you will need a legal DNA test.

For legal testing, trained sample collectors follow strict chain of custody conditions to ensure the correct person has provided the DNA sample.

The sample collector will inspect ID and make sure consent forms are signed. Photographic evidence is also required for legal cases, such as immigration.

As the name implies, a peace of mind paternity test is different to a legal test, as these tests are done for your personal use only and cannot be used in legal proceedings. However, consent is still required for a peace of mind paternity test.

Can a father refuse a paternity test?

The simple answer is yes, the alleged father can refuse a paternity test for all sorts of reasons.

However, if the alleged father is refusing to take a paternity test, alternative DNA relationship tests using other family members can be performed to determine a direct biological relationship between the alleged father and the child. 

Consent would still need to be provided by any adults submitting their DNA samples for testing.

Alternatively, if an alleged father is refusing a paternity test for legal reasons, such as during child maintenance disputes, a court may decide to order a paternity test as part of ongoing proceedings.

The father is not available for a paternity test. What other options do I have? 

As mentioned, there are many reasons why the alleged father might not be available to take a paternity test.

In these instances, you may decide to order an alternative relationship DNA test to find out who your child’s biological father is.

Every person inherits half of their genetic profile from their mother, and half from their father. When a child’s father is unavailable for a paternity test, for example if they’ve passed away or are not around for another reason, there are several tests that can help you learn the truth about your child’s parentage.

Due to the scientific limitations of relationship DNA testing (grandparent, aunt/uncle, and sibling) when compared to a standard paternity test, each of these tests also comes with a money back guarantee.

If we cannot provide you with a conclusive result, we’ll refund the price of your test.

Grandparent DNA Test

Other than a paternity test, a grandparent DNA test is one of the most accurate and reliable tests for confirming a biological relationship between a child and their father.

As a child inherits half of their genetic profile from each of their parents, a grandchild will share DNA markers with their paternal and maternal grandparents.

A link can therefore be proved (or disproved) between a child and one or more of their father’s biological parents by comparing their DNA with the child’s DNA.

An AlphaBiolabs’ grandparent DNA test analyses up to 42 DNA markers for an extremely accurate and reliable result.

However, a grandparent DNA test is not as conclusive as a standard paternity test. For this reason, we would always recommend testing the alleged father(s) directly using a paternity DNA test if possible.

You can purchase a Grandparent DNA Test now for £199 for next day results. For an extra £70, you can choose to receive results the same day.

For a grandparent DNA test, we also ask that the mother’s sample is provided, as this gives us more information to determine which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the mother, and which half has been inherited from the paternal grandparent(s).

Aunt or Uncle DNA Tests

DNA aunt or uncle testing, also known as avuncular tests, can be performed on the alleged father’s sister or brother to establish a biological relationship between the child’s aunt or uncle and their niece or nephew.

An AlphaBiolabs aunt or uncle DNA test can be purchased for £199 for next day results, with the option for same day results (for an extra £70).

For these types of tests, the alleged uncle or aunt must be a full biological sibling of the alleged father (not a half-sibling), as this helps increase the likelihood of a conclusive result.

Our aunt and uncle DNA tests look at up to 42 DNA markers for an accurate result.

However, for these tests, we also ask that the mother’s sample is provided, as this gives us more information to determine which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the mother, and which half has been inherited from their paternal aunt or uncle.

Sibling DNA Test

A sibling DNA test analyses up to 42 DNA markers, and can help determine a child’s paternity by establishing whether two or more children have the same father.

Unlike a paternity test which will always provide a conclusive result, a sibling DNA test is different.

When a sibling test is conducted, the laboratory will determine the genetic profiles of the alleged siblings.

We do ask that the mother’s DNA sample is provided for a sibling test, if possible, as this gives us more information to determine which half of each child’s DNA is inherited from the mother and which half has been inherited from the paternal line.

However, a sibling DNA test can be performed without any samples from the mother or alleged father(s), and you will still receive an extremely accurate result.

Based on the genetic material shared by each sibling, a sibling DNA index or likelihood ratio is calculated to determine the most likely relationship.

A likelihood of greater than 10 supports that the tested individuals are either full or half-siblings. A likelihood ratio of less than 0.1 would not support this, meaning the individuals are unlikely to be related.

A likelihood which falls between 0.1 and 10 is considered inconclusive, which means a relationship cannot be determined based on the statistical probability obtained from the analysis.

You can buy an AlphaBiolabs Sibling DNA Test for £199 for next day results. For an extra £70, you can choose to receive your results the same day. 

If we cannot provide you with a conclusive result, we’ll refund the cost of your test, guaranteed.

Y Chromosome Testing

For male children requiring a paternity test (where the father is unavailable), Y-DNA chromosome testing can provide a conclusive answer as to whether male relatives share paternal DNA. 

This test works because all male children inherit their Y chromosome from their father. Male children will pass the Y chromosome from their father onto their own male children when they become fathers.

The low mutation rate of the Y chromosome means that males coming from the same paternal line will always share the same Y chromosome. This makes this test ideal for male relatives who want to confirm that they share a paternal line.

A full match between Y chromosomes confirms that two (or more) males are related. If the males have different Y chromosome profiles, then they are not related.

An AlphaBiolabs Y Chromosome DNA Test can be purchased for £199 for next day results, or an additional £70 for same day results.

The father has passed away – can I still do a paternity test?

If the alleged father has recently passed away, you can still choose to do a paternity test by instructing our testing laboratory to perform a viability study on the deceased’s toothbrush or using their fingernail or toenail clippings to see if a DNA profile can be obtained.

If a DNA profile can be achieved in the laboratory, AlphaBiolabs can then perform a paternity test in the usual way, for an additional cost.

However, it is important to note that you must gain consent from next of kin to use the deceased’s DNA for a paternity test.

In situations where the alleged father has been deceased for some time, a direct biological relationship will need to be proved using DNA from another family member.

The alternative relationship DNA tests outlined in this article can help you find the answers you need.

Where can I get a paternity test without the father?

AlphaBiolabs offers a range of peace of mind DNA testing services to help you establish paternity without the child’s father.

If you require a paternity test for legal matters, you will need to request a quote for a Legal DNA Test here.

It is important to remember that you must always gain consent (a signature) from adults submitting their DNA samples for testing.

For confidential advice about which test is best for you, call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

Last reviewed: 16/03/2022
Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

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.

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