Is It Possible To Do A Secret Paternity Test On A Child?

Posted on: 16 March 2016

It can be difficult to determine a child's parentage by looking at him or her. The only way to be absolutely sure is to compare the child's DNA to that of the parents' via testing. If you're a father who's not sure if a child is biologically yours, demanding a paternity test can lead to interpersonal drama with the mother and others who may be involved. It's possible to conduct a secret paternity test to confirm or alleviate your fears, but there are a couple of things you need to know about this option before doing it.

You Need Permission for Legally Viable Tests

These days, there are a host of companies offering paternity testing for a fee. You can even purchase a kit at a local drug store and mail the samples to a laboratory that will send you a letter with the results a few weeks later. At-home tests in particular offer the maximum amount of discretion, because you can secretly collect the needed samples and send them to the lab without anyone knowing.

The trouble is most laboratories require all parties being tested who are over the age of 18 to sign authorization forms giving the company permission to test their DNA. For children under 18, a legal guardian must give consent for the test. If you were identified as the father on the child's birth certificate, then you could sign for the minor involved. However, if you aren't legally recognized as the child's parent, then you would have to obtain the signature of one of the legal parents before you can get the test done.

This is only true, though, if you plan on using the test results in court to resolve legal issues. Courts generally will not accept results where the legitimacy of the information is in question or the data was obtained through illegal means. If you don't plan on presenting the results in court, then you can get a DNA test done by a company that doesn't require a formal authorization from all parties involved.

Collect the Best Sample Possible

The preferred type of material for DNA testing is the saliva and/or skin cells from the inner cheek, but any type of body tissue or fluid can be used. Most labs prefer the DNA sample be placed on a sterile swab. However, many will also accept samples from cigarette butts, tissues, lollipops, toothbrushes, and other items that may contain the person's DNA. Be aware, though, that these secondary items may have contaminants on them that could affect the results.

If the paternity tests come back with some surprising information, then you should consult with an attorney for assistance with resolving any related issues. Speak with a business like the Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson for more help.