Can medications or medical treatment affect a paternity test? This is a question we hear very often from clients thinking about doing a test. It is a sensible question to ask since such a large proportion of the population receives regular prescriptions and advanced medical treatments are becoming more commonplace. But what is the influence of modern medicine on paternity-test results?

Does Medication Affect a Paternity Test?

Medication does not impact the results of a DNA test simply because its use does not impact your genetic makeup.

Do Medical Treatments Affect a Paternity Test?

There are some treatments that can affect your DNA and so in turn change a DNA test result—making it more of a challenge to get a conclusive test result. If you or someone else who plans to be tested have had the following treatments, it is important that you understand how this can impact your test and that you tell the lab doing your test about the treatment you have had.

1. Stem cell/Bone Marrow Transplants

Stem-cell transplants used to be known as bone-marrow transplants because the cells were harvested from the bone marrow. With new technology, these cells are now more commonly collected from blood and so are more usually referred to as a stem-cell transplant. These procedures are used to treat certain cancers or blood diseases by producing new healthy cells. Transplants can be from donors or the host can have cells harvested. If you have a transplant from another person, you body will in effect produce your donor’s white blood cells, which contain their DNA. Therefore this may have an impact on your genetic profile. A study by Dr Garima Chaudhary concluded, “Peripheral blood and buccal swab do not serve as a reliable source of recipient’s origin for DNA analysis of individuals who underwent allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.”

In essence, this means someone who has received a bone marrow transplant should not participate in a DNA relationship test using buccal swabs or a blood sample. You may use other sample sources, however, so you can still do a test. Technologically-advanced testing labs like DDC can also test hair root, for example, since the transplant process does not affect these types of samples.

2. Blood transfusions

If you or a test participant have had a blood transfusion more that two weeks before you provide a buccal  (cheek swab) sample, it is highly unlikely this will impact the test result. This is because blood cells that are transplanted have a short life and are constantly being replaced, so they only stay in the body for a short time before breaking down. For any woman who is planning on having the Non Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test, if you have received a recent blood transfusion it is imperative that you let the lab doing the test know. The sample required from the mother for this type of testing is a blood sample, and the lab may well advise that you wait a short time to ensure the transfusion does not affect the outcome of the test.

In a Nutshell

If you have had a stem-cell transplant or a blood transfusion, remember this does not preclude you altogether from having a paternity test, but it may make getting a result more difficult. Our highly-trained and experienced customer-service team is on hand to navigate you through the complexities of situations like this. If you let us know your situation, we can guide you and let you know which samples would be the most appropriate for your test.

If you need advice about the testing process or which test is most suitable for you, please phone one of our highly-experienced customer-service staff on 020 3301 7346.