Get the answers you’re looking for.


Get the answers you’re looking for.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Testing

Paternity testing while pregnant is an important issue for many men and women, one that is often better known sooner rather than later. Many people do not know that paternity testing while pregnant is possible! DNA Diagnostics Center has developed the following FAQs to answer some of the questions you may have about our unique paternity testing before the baby is born.

Getting Started

Can I get a paternity test while pregnant?

Yes. You can get a paternity test while pregnant using a non-invasive prenatal paternity test. This type of test is completely safe for mother and fetus and can be done as early as eight (8) weeks into the pregnancy. All that is required is a cheek swab from the possible father and a blood test from the mother. DDC’s test is the only one that’s been validated and published, and payment plans are available.  Each situation is unique,  and testing can be arranged to fit your specific needs. We encourage you to call one of our paternity experts for a brief, confidential consultation at 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598

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Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?

Yes. If the mom can not, or does not want to be tested, we can perform a paternity test. A “motherless” test could require more extensive analysis to produce conclusive results, but the results are just as accurate as those of a standard paternity test.

DDC encourages mothers to participate in paternity testing for the following reasons:

  • Mothers who participate are guaranteed to receive a copy of the test results. Due to DDC’s strict confidentiality policy, we are only able to release results to those tested, their authorized representatives (such as an attorney), or the tested child’s legal custodian.
  • Some courts require the mother to participate in a paternity test.

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Can a paternity test be performed if the father is missing or deceased?

Several testing options are available in situations where the father is missing or deceased. DDC specializes in finding alternative family members to test to determine the true biological father.

Other tests include:

  • Grandparent test
  • Sibling test
  • Aunt/Uncle test
  • Family Reconstruction

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There are two possible fathers, and they are related. Is this a problem?

If two possible fathers are related as full brothers or father and son, they may share many of the DNA markers used in paternity testing. This means that if the laboratory is not aware of these relationships, both men could test positive as the child’s biological father. DNA testing is strong enough to determine paternity in a case involving related fathers, but the laboratory must be made aware of these situations before the testing process begins.

DDC offers two options for cases involving possible fathers who are related:

Option 1: Test both fathers, the child, and the mother at the same time. By comparing both fathers’ DNA profiles with the child’s DNA profile, our expert laboratory staff can achieve accurate and conclusive test results. There is an added fee for the additional father.

Option 2: Test one father with extended analysis. This option can be taken when only one of the fathers is available for testing. To produce a conclusive result, we must perform extended testing and statistical analysis. There is an additional fee for the extended testing and analysis.

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For more information about paternity testing with related fathers, including the associated fees, please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598.

What do I need to do to get a paternity test?

Simply call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 to speak with our caring case managers. They will evaluate your unique situation and recommend the best DNA testing service to answer your paternity questions. When you are ready to proceed, they will arrange a sample collection appointment that is convenient for you. Or, if you prefer a Home DNA Test, you can order the test through our convenient online order form, and receive your results online.

Get the Details

Do I need a doctor’s order or a court order to start a paternity test?

No, anyone can take a DNA paternity test without a physician’s request or court order. However, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) only allows clinical laboratories to examine specimens at the request of licensed physicians or other persons authorized by law to use the test results in their practice or in the performance of their official duties. If you are a resident of New York, please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 for assistance.

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Will you protect my privacy?

We take our patients’ privacy very seriously, and we have the strict confidentiality policy to prove it.

  • We will not release any information about your case to anyone without your authorization.
  • We will always follow any special instructions you give us for communicating with you or other parties involved in your test.
  • We never release test results over the phone.

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Why should I choose DDC?

DDC is the world’s largest and most trusted private DNA testing laboratory. Our advantages translate into accurate, reliable testing and top-quality customer service for you. To name just a few:

  • We are the first laboratory to run every test twice for guaranteed accuracy.
  • Our laboratory has earned perfect scores on its last 16 inspections by the AABB, NYSDOH, and CAP, among others.
  • We have more locations across the United States and around the world than any other DNA services provider.

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Price and Payment

How much does a paternity test cost?

  • A quality home DNA paternity test  (for personal knowledge and peace of mind only) costs  $150 to $200
  • A legal DNA paternity test (with court-admissible results) for child support, child visitation, and immigration, typically costs $300 to $500, and includes professional DNA collection

Prices can vary, as does the quality of the testing, and additional features can be added, such as expedited testing.
Your best option is to call our toll free number, for two reasons:

  1. To make sure you get the test that’s right for you, and
  2. To see if you qualify for monthly discounts

If you have any questions about the prices, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598

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Do you have payment plans?

As part of our mission to make the best DNA testing services accessible and affordable, we offer flexible payment plans to individuals who need time to pay for their tests. To have a standard paternity test started, we require only a nonrefundable partial payment of $129. Other tests can start with a deposit as low as $50. To discuss your payment options in more detail, please call one of our helpful case managers at 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept the following forms of payment:

    • Visa
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
    • Discover
    • Pre-paid credit cards
    • Western Union Quick Collect
    • Money orders
    • Cashier’s checks
    • Personal checks (with the payer’s driver’s license number written on the check’s memo line)
    • Checks by phone (U.S. patients only)

If you have questions about any of these payment options, please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598.

Is paternity testing covered by health insurance or Medicaid?

Paternity testing is not covered by health insurance or Medicaid because it is not a “medically necessary procedure.” However, there are some situations in which part of the sample collection costs may be covered. Please call one of our knowledgeable case managers at 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 for assistance.

Should I take any money to the sample collection appointment?

Most of our patients do not have to take money to the sample collection appointment. They make all their payments directly to DDC, and we handle the test and collection fees for them.

There are a couple of exceptions to this general rule, however. Some international patients, for example may have to pay the sample collection fee at their collection appointments.

When your appointment is scheduled by one of our case managers, he or she will let you know if you need to pay the collection site directly.

Legal Testing

Will my test results be legally binding?

DDC strictly adheres to the chain of custody procedure as outlined by the AABB, and this makes our test results legally defensible. More judges in more courtrooms will see DDC reports than any other paternity report. Many of our patients use their test results for legal purposes such as child custody, child support, immigration, Social Security benefit claims, inheritance claims, and more.

Learn the differences between a home paternity test and a legal paternity test

Can I use my test results to obtain child support?

Testing through DDC follows a strict chain of custody, which makes our results defensible in courts and other government agencies. Many of our patients use their test results to obtain child support and for other important legal purposes, such as validating claims for Social Security benefits or inheritances

What does “chain of custody” mean?

The chain of custody process is what makes DDC’s paternity test results legally defensible in courts and other government agencies. It involves three main aspects:

  • The tested parties are properly identified when their samples are collected. (Their government-issued IDs are verified and photocopied.)
  • The DNA samples are collected by a neutral third party—someone who has no personal interest in the outcome of the test (e.g., a hospital, clinic, or laboratory staff person. DDC will coordinate this collection).
  • The samples are tamper-taped, securely packaged at the collection site, and carefully inspected upon receipt for any evidence of tampering.

When these requirements are satisfied and documented, a paternity test’s results are legally defensible. This means that the patients can use them for legal purposes such as child custody, child support, immigration, and more.


How long does it take to get DNA paternity test results?

It takes 1-2 business days to complete testing and post results for a standard DNA paternity test, once the lab has received all tested parties’ samples. Same-day results are available for an additional fee. You can then view your results using our online results login.  Please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 to discuss your express service options with one of our knowledgeable paternity experts.

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How will I receive my results?

Results can be viewed online through our website. Most clients log on to see their results, as it’s the fastest way to get the answer.

First-class mail is our primary method of sending printed paternity test results. Legal results are notarized and stamped, and only the original printed report is considered a legal document. To protect our patients’ privacy, we send the results in a plain envelope that is not marked with our company name or logo.

For patients who would like to see their results sooner than first-class mail permits, we offer two other options for a nominal fee:

Please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 to discuss your options with one of our helpful case managers.

What do the results look like, and how do I interpret them?

We follow all paternity-test guidelines for the language used in the report. For this reason, your paternity test results will say whether the alleged father IS EXCLUDED or IS NOT EXCLUDED as the biological father of the child tested.

IS EXCLUDED: Means that he cannot be the father because testing determined that he and the child do not share a biological parent/child relationship.

IS NOT EXCLUDED: Means that he is considered to be the biological father because testing determined that he and the child do share a biological parent/child relationship.

A paternity test result includes a table that lists:

  • The allele sizes of the different DNA markers examined and used in the statistical analysis portion of the test (i.e., the DNA profile)
  • A Probability of Paternity value
  • A Combined Paternity Index (CPI) value

You will want to focus on the Probability of Paternity. A result of 0% means the alleged father is not the biological father; a result of 99.99% or higher means the alleged father is the biological father. The CPI value represents the odds against another random, untested male in the population having the same results as the tested man.

Get a detailed explanation here

Sample Collection

Do you have a sample collection location near me?

We have an exclusive & extensive network of sample collection sites that includes every city and state in the U.S., and every Canadian province. We also have numerous collection sites in countries around the world. When you call, one of our paternity experts will search our databases to offer you local appointments that are convenient for all the tested parties. We will schedule your appointment at the time and place that work best for you.

What happens if the tested parties live in different cities or states?

We can schedule separate appointments for any or all of the participants in a paternity test, usually at no additional charge. We have thousands of collection sites all over the United States and Canada, and we can usually schedule a convenient appointment close to your work or home.

What types of samples do you use?

The samples we test are buccal swabs, or cheek swabs. Buccal swabbing is a quick and painless procedure that involves rubbing a cotton-like swab against the inside of the patient’s cheek.

We can test a number of other types of samples as well.

  • In a prenatal paternity test, for example, we will examine a blood sample collected from the Mother.
  • In a case involving a deceased individual, we can test a blood or tissue sample that has been stored at the coroner’s or medical examiner’s office. However, we first need to perform a viability test on the sample to make sure it contains sufficient DNA for testing.

How soon can I have my sample collected?

Because we have sample collection sites all over the United States and Canada, we will be able to schedule an appointment for you quickly—often on the same day that you call. Please call 1-800-681-71621-800-681-6598 to set up your case right away.

What do I need to bring to the appointment?

All adult test participants must bring a valid government-issued ID—such as a driver’s license, state ID, military ID, or passport—to the sample collection appointment. For minors, a recent photo is required, although the collector is likely going to take a photograph of all the tested parties, and this will suffice. In addition, the child’s legal custodian will have to sign a consent form allowing the minor to be tested.

What will happen at the sample collection appointment?

When you arrive at your appointment, you will need to present proper identification, which the sample collector will verify and photocopy.

After you are properly identified, you will need to sign a form giving your consent for the test. If you are the legal custodian of a tested minor, you will have to sign the form on behalf of the child.

The collector will collect your DNA samples using simple buccal swabs—cotton-like swabs that he or she will rub against the inside of your cheek to gather loose cheek cells. The collector will then send all the samples to our laboratory.

Our collection process is designed to be convenient, simple, and painless!

Is there a minimum age for collecting a DNA sample?

No. Because DNA is set at conception and generally does not change, a paternity test can be performed on a person of any age—even on a sample from an unborn child (through prenatal testing). At birth, blood from the umbilical cord can be taken for use as a DNA sample source, or a buccal swab can be collected from the mouth of a newborn.

What is the preferred sample collection method for DNA paternity testing?

Buccal swabs are the most common source of biological samples for Paternity relationship testing using DNA test methods. According to the most recent Annual Report from the AABB for accredited Relationship Testing Laboratories, over 99.9% of DNA samples reported are buccal swabs.

For paternity testing while pregnant, the mother needs to only provide a blood sample.

Why are DNA buccal swabs preferred?

Cheek swabs ensure this sample collection process is quick & painless.
The DNA isolated from the cheek cells is viable for an extended time if stored properly—longer than blood. After collection, cheek swabs do not require refrigeration, but should be thoroughly air-dried prior to packaging and shipment to the laboratory.
It is actually easier to extract DNA from buccal swabs than blood.
Patients are more willing to undergo a buccal swab sample collection than a blood collection.
Buccal swab samples are easier to collect, and therefore do not require specialized training like a phlebotomist for a blood collection.

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Is there a difference in accuracy between buccal swabs and blood?

No. DNA is the same in every cell of a person’s body, regardless of whether it is a blood cell or buccal cell. It has been demonstrated that DNA from a blood or buccal swab sample from the same person produces identical paternity test results.

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Is it necessary to have all the sample types be the same when doing a paternity test?

No. If a buccal cell sample cannot be collected from all of the individuals participating in a test, that is okay. DNA paternity testing can be performed on a wide range of samples and not all parties participating in the test have to have the same sample type.

Is there scientific literature that addresses the use of buccal swabs for DNA paternity testing?

Yes, the scientific literature is clear that DNA samples from blood and buccal swabs produce identical results from DNA testing. The following is a list of such articles:

  • 1. Thomas O. Hansen. 2007. Collection of Blood, Saliva, and Buccal Cell Samples in a Pilot Study on the Danish Nurse Cohort: Comparison of the Response Rate and Quality of Genomic DNA. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
  • 2. Guangyun Sun, Mary Haverbusch, Sabbarao Indugula, Lisa Martin, Joseph Broderick, Ranjan Deka, Daniel Woo. 2007. Quality Assessment of Buccal Versus Blood Genomic DNA Using the Affymetrix 500 K GeneChip. BioMed Central.
  • 3. Alex Livy, Sayhean Lye, Chahil Jagdish, Nurul Hanis, Velapasamy Sharmila, Lian Ler, and Bagali Pramod. 2011. Evaluation of Quality of DNA Extracted from Buccal Swabs for Microarray Based Genotyping. Indiana Journal of Clinical Biochemistry.
  • 4. E. Milne, F. van Bockmeer, L. Robertson, J. Brisbane, L Ashton, B Armstrong. 2006. Buccal DNA Collection: Comparison of Buccal Swabs with FTA Cards. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
  • 5. STR Amplification of DNA from Buccal and Blood Samples Stored Long-Term on Whatman FTA Cards. 2011. GE Healthcare Life Sciences Application Note.

What if my envelope is wet from the swabs?

Sometimes some saliva can also get on the swabs along with cheek cells. If a swab seems excessively wet, hold it in the air and wave it for about 60 seconds before placing in the paper sample envelope. If a sample envelope gets wet, let it air-dry on a clean countertop at room temperature before placing it in the mailer.

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Prenatal Paternity

What is a prenatal paternity test?

A prenatal paternity test establishes paternity while pregnant. DDC’s Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test using the SNP microarray method is the most accurate test available—and with a test this important, accuracy is number one.

Learn all about the Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test

Why should I establish paternity?

A main reason is to determine the father of a child as early as possible, perhaps even before the baby is born. More complex reasons may include access to legal and social benefits, establishing accurate medical histories, and perhaps simply to strengthen the family bond, particularly between a father and child.

How does a prenatal paternity test work?

The DDC Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test is the most accurate non-invasive way to determine paternity before a baby’s birth. The DDC process is state-of-the-art, combining the latest in DNA SNP microarray technology and paternity determining algorithms. The baby’s DNA found naturally in the mother’s bloodstream. The test requires a blood sample from the mother, then with our unique processing, the baby’s DNA is separated from the mothers, and compared to the DNA taken from the possible father. A report is then produced.

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What does non-invasive mean?

A non-invasive paternity test utilizes fetal DNA isolated from the mother’s blood. The blood is drawn from the mothers arm, and replaces invasive methods such as the amniocentesis, where a large needle is inserted into the pregnant mother’s abdomen to collect amniotic fluid for testing. Amniocentesis is an “invasive” method.

As a fetus develops in the womb, it’s cells become evident in the mother’s amniotic fluid, as well as in the mother’s blood stream. A non-invasive prenatal paternity test isolates the fetus cells from the mother’s cells. The fetus cells contain DNA, and this DNA is then compared to the father’s DNA to establish paternity.

How accurate is a non-invasive prenatal paternity test?

At DDC we provide at least a 99.9% probability on prenatal paternity tests.

There have been many studies to confirm the accuracy of non-invasive testing for paternity. One such study, as reported in the New England of Medicine, tested 30 blood samples from biologic mothers and fathers (the fathers were grouped with unrelated men, for the sake of the test). In every case the researchers were able to correctly identify paternity.

When is the earliest that I can get a paternity test while pregnant?

Only DDC’s prenatal paternity test can be done as early as 8 weeks after conception.

How safe is non-invasive prenatal paternity testing? Is there any risk to me or my baby?

In a non-invasive prenatal paternity test there is no risk to the fetus apart. The mother experiences a simple draw of blood.

Prior to this non-invasive test, prenatal paternity testing included invasive methods to obtain a suitable fetal sample by way of amniocentesis or CVS (Chorionic Villus Sample). Both of these invasive methods run a slight risk of miscarriage. Unlike these invasive methods, DDC’s non-invasive prenatal paternity test only uses the mother’s blood to detect DNA from the baby.

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How long does it take to get the results of the test?

You will receive results within 5-7 business days from the time the samples are received at DDC’s laboratory in Ohio.

Can I use the prenatal paternity test results in court?

DDC does offer a Legal Paternity Test which can be used in court cases, where the test is performed after the baby is born.

If you anticipate that your test results may potentially be used in a court case, we recommend this court-approved test.

What is the cost of paternity testing while pregnant?

The Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test from DDC requires a $999 down payment. We recommend that you contact DDC directly to discuss your options or visit the dedicated Paternity Testing While Pregnant page for more information.

Our paternity experts are here to ensure you get the test that’s right for you. Many other laboratories outsource customer service, but at DNA Diagnostics Center we hire and train our own experts so that your experience is confidential, friendly, and easy.