In This Article
In This Article
Genetic ancestry tests like 23andMe and Ancestry DNA can search their database to explore biological relatives, like your mother and father.
Taking them doesn’t guarantee you will find family members. But they can be useful if you’re adopted or were separated from your birth family at a young age.
At-home DNA tests give you a convenient and affordable way to find relatives and connect with people you may be closely related to.
These genetic tests can also help you learn more about your family’s history.
But if you want to establish paternity or maternity, you need to take a different type of genetic test known as paternity or maternity testing.
These tests can accurately tell you if a person is your biological father or mother. You can also use them to confirm that someone isn’t your birth parent.
Ancestry tests like 23andMe and AncestryDNA can help you learn more about your ethnic origins and where your family may have come from.
Ancestry kits can uncover your ancestral origins, which can be helpful for researching your family history or building your family tree
The best at-home DNA tests can trace your ancestors’ migration routes. They can tell you how your ancestors migrated across the world in the last few hundred years.
Ancestry testing can also help you find relatives you didn’t know about. The more DNA you share with a person, the more likely you are to be closely related.
No. Currently, there’s no 23andMe paternity test or maternity test.
The DNA testing company can’t confirm or deny your biological relationship to a potential father or mother.
But if you’re looking for one or both parents, 23andMe’s ancestry tests can help with a feature called DNA Relatives.
DNA Relatives uses your genetic information to find genetic matches or people who share a significant amount of your DNA. To find your mom or dad:
No. There is no Ancestry DNA test for paternity or maternity. They can’t tell you whether or not you’re biologically related to a suspected father or mother.
However, you can use AncestryDNA to find your birth father or mother if:
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A paternity test can determine whether or not a man is a child's birth father.
A paternity test is used to prove or deny the biological relationship between a father and his child, who may be a minor or an adult at the time of testing.
Paternity testing can also be performed on an unborn child while the woman is pregnant. This is known as a prenatal paternity test.
To perform the test, DNA samples must be gathered from the suspected father and child. The child’s biological mother may also be asked to provide samples.
Doctors need to collect amniotic fluid, placental tissue, or fetal DNA from the blood of pregnant women who wish to undergo prenatal paternity testing.
But if you’re taking an at-home paternity test, the father and child—and sometimes, the mother—only need to submit buccal (cheek) swabs.
Samples from the alleged father and his child are then compared at a laboratory. The mother’s DNA is only used as a baseline for half of the child’s genetic data.
If the remaining half matches with the father, it proves his paternity.
But if the genetic markers of the alleged father do not match with the child, it’s proof that he is not your father.
A maternity test is used to prove whether or not a woman is a child's biological mother.
A DNA maternity test is used to confirm or deny the biological relationship of a mother and her child, who may be young or an adult when they take the test.
DNA samples are collected from the mother and child. The child’s father may also provide his samples, but this is optional unless it’s for legal purposes.
Maternity testing may need blood samples or swabs containing cheek cells. The test then compares the genetic material of the alleged mother and her child.
A woman with the same genetic markers as her child confirms that she is the biological mother. But if they don’t match, then she isn’t the birth mother.
Maternity and paternity testing are 99.99 percent accurate for confirming whether or not someone is your biological parent.
“Older methods of proving parenthood are ABO blood group typing, analysis of proteins and enzymes, and using human leukocyte antigen (HLA)," says general practitioner Dr. Rizza Mira.
Dr. Mira adds that DNA testing is currently the most accurate method for proving paternity or maternity.
The accuracy of maternity and paternity testing depends on the number of markers tested. Only specific markers are tested to confirm parenthood.
Yes. While it’s unlikely for paternity tests to be inaccurate, there are rare cases where they turn up a false positive or a false negative.
Paternity tests may produce incorrect results if:
In legal situations where it’s necessary to establish or exclude parentage beyond a reasonable doubt, the court may order more than one test.
Taking several tests can help confirm the accuracy of the first test.
Maternity and paternity tests may produce inaccurate results. Accuracy is important for your peace of mind, identifying health risks, or if you plan to use the results in court.
If you were adopted or got separated from your family at an early age, knowing your biological parents can give you peace of mind.
It also gives you the opportunity to explore your parents’ medical and family history, so you can learn more about your genetic predisposition to diseases.
People who put up their children for adoption or got separated from them due to other circumstances may also use these tests to find closure.
It can help them confirm their genetic relationship to a suspected biological child.
In some cases, proving or disproving paternity or maternity through genetic testing has legal implications. DNA test results can be used to gain or deny legal rights, such as:
Maternity and paternity tests may also be used as evidence for criminal investigations and forensics.
Yes, but it depends on the test. Only legal paternity testing provides court-admissible results.
You can use these test results in cases involving child custody and child support. They can also help with immigration and disputes on inheritance.
“For a paternity test to be admissible in court, a third-party must verify the identity of the prospect parent, witness, or collect the DNA samples themselves,” says Dr. Mira.
Paternity testing is generally affordable and costs $150 to $1,000. However, it isn't covered by insurance.
DNA paternity tests are priced anywhere from $150 to over $1,000. The actual cost of genetic testing may vary depending on the type of test.
Paternity tests that are performed in a doctor’s office cost about $400 to $800. Home paternity testing is much cheaper and costs an average of $150.
Pregnant women who opt for prenatal paternity testing may have to spend more than $1,000 for the procedure.
Meanwhile, a legal paternity test with court-admissible DNA results costs anywhere from $300 to $500.
No. Health insurance companies do not cover paternity tests.
DNA tests (such as paternity testing) are not medical tests used for diagnosing health conditions. So they can’t be covered by your health insurance.
Yes. At-home kits like Paternity Depot conveniently test for paternity at home.
You can order these tests online, collect the DNA samples yourself, and send them back for analysis.
Paternity test results are usually available after 3 to 8 weeks. When they’re ready, you can access them online or have them printed out and delivered by mail.
To protect your privacy when taking genetic tests, most DNA testing companies won’t send your results through email.
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