Many new mums wonder if a paternity test can be done without the father’s knowledge. In some cases, the woman might be married to another man; or she might be in an abusive situation; in yet another scenario, she may not have wanted the possible father to know she was pregnant in the first place. So is it possible for a UK paternity test to be done without the father’s knowledge? We’ll answer this and other pressing questions you may have about a paternity test.

Can a UK Paternity Testing be Done Without the Father’s Knowledge?

No. Conducting a DNA paternity test without the father’s knowledge is not legal in the UK. All adults being tested must give their consent to have their samples tested. According to the Human Tissue ACT, taking someone’s DNA with the intention of having it tested without his or her consent would be to commit a criminal offence. Legally, he must sign a chain-of-custody form that authorises the laboratory to undertake the testing process.

Can the Father Refuse DNA Paternity Testing?

Yes. The possible father of a child does have the right to refuse a court-ordered DNA test, however he will experience legal consequences for doing so. DNA testing is typically considered a civil lawsuit and the judge can try to force the possible father to provide a sample to a Ministry of Justice Approved laboratory.

If the possible father refuses to take the test at this point, he can be held in contempt of court, which can lead to legal consequences such as fines and the court taking the view that the alleged father has something to hide. The court may even assume paternity in the absence of a test, so ultimately it really isn’t in his best interest to refuse.

Yes, it is possible to have a DNA paternity test without involving the father directly. One way is to test the father’s parents or his first-degree relatives. This type of test is more expensive since extensive analysis is required, and we always recommend that the mum contribute her DNA as well in order to obtain the most conclusive results possible. If the possible father is deceased, then an autopsy sample can be used. However, a chain-of-custody form that authorises the procedure must be signed by his next of kin and the coroner. This allows for a court to recognise the validity of the results.

How Accurate is a DNA Paternity Test?

If you are able to get a sample directly from the father, as is the case with simple buccal cheek swabs, these tests can have up to 99.9999% accuracy.

DNA tests are powerful tools when determining paternity in divorce and related custody or child support cases.  They help women identify biological fathers, and alleged fathers prove they are not biological fathers.

What matters most is how the samples are collected. They must follow the chain-of-custody process.  When being tested, mothers and named fathers must present a valid ID and/or passport photograph, sign the Chain of Custody authorisation, and their samples must be securely packaged with their ID.

Can You Contest the Results of a Potentially-Falsified DNA Test?

Perhaps. In some cases, DNA test results can be contested, and there are a few situations where this can happen:

  • If the result is believed to be fraudulent
  • In cases where the alleged father proves he is infertile
  • Clear evidence is available showing someone has tampered with the lab results

How Many DNA Tests Are Done Each Year?

In 2006, it was estimated that 30,000 paternity tests are performed each year in the UK. Statistically, men who question whether they are the biological father of the child they’re raising are in fact not the biological father about 30% of cases. Paternity tests are a useful tool for proving paternity in divorces and other legal cases.  If you are trying to determine paternity, just make sure you have the results collected legally by using chain-of-custody procedures.

If you need additional information or want a confidential consultation about a UK paternity test, contact our experienced customer-service team at on 0800 009 2969.