Friday, August 19, 2011

Prenatal Paternity Test Provides Results at 12 Weeks

Before this week, parents who were unsure of a child's paternity would usually wait until the child was born before completing a paternity test. The dilemma can lead to a very stress-filled nine months. A new test can reveal a child's father at merely 12 weeks gestation, saving people from delayed heartbreak and months of uncertainty.

 The new paternity test is called the Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test and was developed by DDC, a private genetic testing company. The test searches for cell-free fetal DNA in the mother’s blood that is analyzed for the father’s DNA. The test is available now for $1,625 by calling the company at 1-800-CALL-DDC. Both the mother and the would-be father need to report to one of the 1,500 testing sites nationwide to give blood and then results are returned in approximately five days. The would-be father’s DNA will either be reported back as “included” or “excluded.” The company purports that the test is 99.9% accurate. They are calling the DNA test “the Holy Grail of prenatal testing,” as it is the same type of non-invasive testing that can determine a baby’s gender at seven weeks gestation.   

Previously, the only way to determine a child’s paternity during pregnancy was through amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which both carry a small risk of miscarriage. The only other way was to wait until the baby was born to take a DNA sample through a cotton swab on the inside of the baby’s mouth. DDC says it received approximately 400,000 calls annually about paternity tests during pregnancy.

The early paternity testing will be beneficial in most cases, however, since the new paternity tests would reveal a child’s father before the legal abortion limit in many states it could result in more abortions for couples who are unhappy with the results. 

For the time being, the test is only an option for those who can afford such a steep price tag. However, the new technology will most likely open the door for competitors to produce less expensive prenatal paternity tests in the near future. The test could mean the end of many stress-filled months for partners that are unsure of the paternity of their child and allow them to move on with their lives as necessary.

Were you ever unsure of the paternity of an unborn child?

Who's Your Baby Daddy? New Paternity Test Can Tell at 12 Weeks [Time]