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The Problem with Transfusions, Transplants, and Paternity Tests

Apr 10, 2019 | Paternity

The Problem with Transfusions, Transplants, and Paternity Tests

Today’s medical treatments make getting and staying well easier than ever for millions of people who otherwise might not have survived their disease or accident. But some treatments can actually alter DNA, affecting some genetic analyses—like paternity tests—and making getting conclusive results difficult. If you’re considering doing a paternity test, here’s what you need to know about stem cell transplants, bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, and how they can affect paternity tests.

Blood Transfusions and Paternity Tests

Chances are good that if you’ve had a standard blood transfusion more than two weeks prior to submitting cheek-swab samples, it should not affect your paternity test. Writing for Scientific American, medical professor Michelle N. Gong explains: “Studies have shown that donor DNA in blood transfusion recipients persists for a number of days, sometimes, longer, but its presence is unlikely to alter genetic tests significantly.”

If you are a pregnant woman who has had a recent blood transfusion and are interested in our Certainty™ Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity test, keep in mind this test requires a small blood sample. When scheduling the test, you should always let the lab know ahead of time that you’ve had the treatment. Depending on when you had the transfusion, you may need to wait a little longer before testing, just to be on the safe side.

Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplants and Paternity Tests

Stem-cell transplants and bone-marrow transplants have the same goal in mind: to help build a patient’s immune system so they can better combat disease. Stem cells can either be collected directly from the donor’s blood or—in fewer cases—are extracted from the donor’s bone marrow. In both procedures, the patient ends up with the donor’s white blood cells and therefore the donor’s DNA too. Unlike a blood transfusion, these effects are long-lasting.

According to genetic counselor Brianne Kirkpatrick, “…a saliva or cheek swab on a stem cell recipient will often fail to give a DNA result because the DNA sample is a mixture of the original person and the donor.”

A bone-marrow or stem-cell transplant doesn’t always result in two profiles on a swab, due to a variety of factors, but it’s important to know that mixed DNA is a possibility and—if this is the case—then a paternity test cannot be completed with samples obtained through cheek swabs.

Q: If I’ve had a bone-marrow or stem-cell transplant, does that mean I can’t ever do a paternity test?

A: No. There are parts of the body that are less affected by the transplant than others. DDC can extract DNA from recently-plucked hair samples (with the root) or fingernails provided by the transplant recipient. Keep in mind there is a $150 non-refundable viability fee to ensure the samples submitted provide enough DNA for testing. Please call us directly to arrange for a paternity test using alternative samples.

Q: What if I had a transplant using my own stem cells?

A: That’s not a problem, since the DNA you’re receiving is your own.

Wrapping It Up

If you’ve had a stem-cell, bone-marrow transplant, or blood transfusion, this does not automatically mean you cannot do a paternity test—but it’s important to know that not being able to get results is a real possibility. Our experts can help you determine whether the time is right and which type of samples might optimize your chances of a successful test.

Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.

Do you have questions or comments about this topic? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.

 

27 Comments

  1. Elina

    I’ve got your Certainty Prenatal Paternity Test, and the results was a probability of paternity of 0,00%. I don’t know if the alleged father has chimerism.
    I would like to know if in the case of the alleged father has chimerism, the test will be inconclusive or will give a 0,00% paternity probability as I got, giving a false exclusion.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Elina. The chances of a participant in a paternity test having chimerism are infinitesimally small. With today’s technology, inconclusive answers for paternity are a thing of the past.

      Reply
  2. Christoline

    The child had blood transfutions from birth until she was six weeks old. The tests was done when she was two years old. Can this influence a paternity test as after dix weeks old she never received blood transfutions again

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Christoline. No, transfusions during the early weeks of her life wouldn’t make a difference two years or so later.

      Reply
  3. Ruth

    Hi,annonymous
    What are the results of dna gonna be if a father,son and stepmother got tested?

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Ruth. I’m not sure why a stepmother would want to participate in a paternity test? She’s not biologically-related to the son. Can you please clarify? Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Antoinete

    I had a paternity test done for my son. It came out that he was not the father. The tester had me, my son and the father in that test. More than 30 years ago. The test results were done motherless. The other thing that I recently found out was and still is, that the father gets regular blood transfusions. I was shocked. Nothing I can do about it now. He still acts as if he was the father of my twin boys, but not financially responsible. My question is.. the blood that was drawn, could it come out incorrect? Blood transfusions was never mentioned.

    Reply
    • DDC

      Recent transfusions may affect a paternity test, yes. Is he willing to do another? The technology is much better now.

      Reply
  5. annie

    Hi my brother in law recently had a paternity test for immigration purposes (outside of the US). The test came back that my father in law was 99.9% excluded. However, my father in law (lives in the US) had just had a large blood transfusion less than 3 days prior to the test and his final radiation therapy less than a month prior to the test on his face. His test was a buccal mouth swab. Could this affect the results?

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Annie. An exclusion cannot be 99.9%. Did you mean the test showed a 99.9% inclusion? Exclusions (not related) for a paternity test are always 0%. Please clarify so I can answer your question properly. Thanks!

      Reply
      • annie

        Hi I am sorry if I worded it improperly “probability of paternity: 0%”

        Reply
        • DDC

          These procedures most likely did not affect the test, Annie. At the time of test set-up with DDC, customers are asked about the procedures mentioned in this article and are advised accordingly about whether or not to proceed with testing, depending on their response. The burden is on the customer to provide us with truthful answers.

          Reply
          • annie

            Can you the DDC guarantee that radiation therapy, blood transfusions and other treatments for current diseases did not compromise the test?

          • DDC

            I cannot comment on a specific test here without all the information, I’m sure you understand. If the test was performed by DDC, participants in the test are welcome to reach out to us if they have concerns at 800-831-1906.

          • annie

            They did not ask us this at the time of set up for the test or at the testing facility. Since we are not medical experts we did not realize at the time that this may be an issue

          • DDC

            They are asked when they fill out forms.

  6. annie

    Thank you for the responses. Just to note that they did not ask anything nor did he fill out forms to note any medical history or conditions. He was just ask to sign a consent on the collection date where they verified his ID. I have contacted the number provided above.

    Reply
    • DDC

      You’re welcome. I was told by customer service that he answered “no” about the health questions on the form.

      Reply
  7. annie

    thank you he was never asked the question nor did he fill out a form just sign one. we did ask the person at the facility prior to the test if a blood transfusion would interfere and they said that that would not alter the test. thank you again

    Reply
  8. Annie

    I have contacted your company and had the test re-examined they have verbally assured me that the medical conditions and treatments did not affect the results of the test however why can’t your company give me something in writing confirming this?

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi. Since you wrote this, I see you’ve spoken with our customer-service team, and we’re happy to provide you something in writing. Please follow their instructions for making this request.

      Reply
  9. Brenda

    My mother is Rh negative with a rare blood type and my father was Rh positive. She lost 2 sons at or shortly after birth due to Rh incompatibility. When my mother was 8 months pregnant with me, her doctor indicated that the antibodies in her blood were destroying my red blood cells in uterine. My father was told to find people to potentially donate blood for a complete blood transfusion for me. Luckily, he found 2 unrelated donors who provided blood for immediate transfusion after I was born by Caesarean section. My blood type is now different than my father’s. I have been asked to provide a DNA sample to determine paternity of someone I did not know may be a sister to me. Would the total blood transfusions I received immediately after birth, and continuing until my blood was clear of the Rh negative antibodies, affect a DNA test done today?

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Brenda. That shouldn’t be a problem.

      Reply
  10. Crystal

    I had a home DNA test done, but i was not the pne who sent it in, my potential fathers wife did. How accurate are those test. The results was not the father. I was not around when they was mailed back.

    Reply
    • DDC

      Hi, Crystal. When performed by an accredited lab like DDC, you can be sure that the results for a home paternity test are accurate for the samples we are provided to test. Since you didn’t maintain control over the samples throughout the whole process prior to sending to the lab, then you can’t be absolutely sure they submitted the possible father’s DNA. You may want to look into doing a witnessed legal test with court-admissible results. You can learn more about that here: https://dnacenter.com/paternity-testing/legal-paternity-testing/

      Reply
    • Cherry

      My baby was tested negative with the father’s DNA which was done by blood, now we are planning to get the test done again is there possibility of the test coming out positive

      Reply
      • DDC

        Hi, Cherry. If DNA for the same people who tested the first time is submitted for the second test, then the results should be exactly the same.

        Reply

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