Because DDC is such a well-known and highly-accredited lab, we are often asked, “How soon can I do a paternity test after the baby is born?” Some people will not want to wait until the baby is born and will opt to have a non-invasive prenatal paternity test, but for those who don’t choose that option, the next best thing is to clarify the biological relationship as soon as possible after the baby is born. Having a new baby and questions about the baby’s paternity can be hugely stressful, so many new parents want to start the process before the baby has even been discharged from the delivery ward. But is that even possible?
Yes, testing can be done as soon as the baby is born. Once the new arrival has been checked over by medical staff, a sample can be taken for a paternity test.
How to Collect a DNA Sample from a New Baby
- It is important to make sure that the baby doesn’t have any amniotic fluid, meconium, or breast milk in its mouth because cheek swabs are used for paternity testing; any of those fluids could cause DNA contamination and possible delay results
- It is a really good idea to take a sample from a newborn while they are sleeping. Babies sleep so deeply, they won’t even be aware you are taking a sample and it makes it much easier when they remain still
- Place your hand gently against the outside of the baby’s cheek. This way you can feel where the swab is and will be sure it is gently making contact with the inside of the cheek and not the gums. Carefully rub the swab back and forth for half a minute. You are trying to collect cheek cells, with as little saliva as possible
- Babies can produce a lot of saliva, so the swab may get very wet. If this is the case, just hold the swab for about a minute and let it air dry. Be careful that the swab tip does not come in contact with anything and then place inside the paper swab envelope and seal
Important Things to Consider
Everyone wants to have a stress-free pregnancy and birth, but this is difficult if there is a question hanging over the paternity of the new arrival. Just having to raise the issue of paternity and a DNA test with a partner or potential parent can be very difficult. If you deal with this quickly and establish the facts, it will be easier for you all to move past the uncertainty—no matter the outcome. If it turns out the alleged father isn’t the biological father after all, it’s best to know before a bond is made with the baby.
If you think you may need results for child-support or child-custody petitions, be sure to get a legal paternity test, so that the report can be used in court. Results from an at-home kit cannot be used in court.
What is really most important is that every child should have a right to know who their biological parents are, for emotional reasons, but also in case they may be at risk of genetically-inherited diseases.