Men take DNA tests for any number of reasons. Sometimes, they test voluntarily, and sometimes the test is required.
The law may demand paternity testing:
- to determine child support and custody issues,
- to confirm inheritance rights,
- for settlement of benefits claims,
- to resolve family connections in immigration cases, and,
- for adopted adults seeking to locate their biological parents.
As the Cleveland Clinic explains, “Paternity testing can determine whether or not a particular man is the biological father of a particular child.” This calls for little more than gathering the DNA from the child and alleged father.
Performed and processed correctly, the DNA test, often called a prenatal paternity test, will confirm fatherhood with 99.9% certainty and exclude the candidate with 100% accuracy. It’s expedient, affordable, and reliable.
What could contaminate your DNA samples for a paternity test
Still, DNA paternity testing samples can be contaminated against your interests if processed in the wrong hands.
- Pre-existing medical procedures: Some medical procedures can affect the test results. For example, if the participant has had a recent blood transfusion or bone marrow transplant, the DNA sample may reflect the influences.
Such procedures introduce new DNA that can remain in the test subject’s system for a long time. So, when it is tested, two DNA profiles show up. So, if you have had medical procedures that could affect the outcome, you owe it to yourself to disclose your medical procedures to the testing lab.
- Smoking, eating, and drinking: This test swabs cell tissue from your mouth. So, if you have been smoking, eating, and/or drinking with an hour prior to the test, you will likely contaminate the results.
This includes avoiding toothpaste, mouthwash, alcohol, and caffeine. They will degrade the cell tissue, if only temporarily, but they will contaminate the test. The testing lab will detect the problem and require a repeat test.
- Testing errors: Participants do make mistakes in self-administered DNA tests. They may not follow directions carefully or simply do something wrong:
- Cross-contamination: Where more than one swab is involved, they must be kept carefully apart. Touching the tip of the swab or handling swabs by the tip fouls the test. Placing swabs from different people into the same package does the same.
- Avoid wet envelopes: Swabbing cheek cells will likely contact saliva. If the envelopes are mailed wet or damp, they may tear open and mix samples.
- Multiple dads: If the test subject is related closely to the real father, there is a risk that their DNA is so close it can confuse the outcome.
To avoid any confusion, you must disclose the possibility of more than one relative being involved.
The truth exposed
The possibility of a DNA mutation is so rare it’s not an issue here. The best DNA genetic testing sends you a testing package and returns the results within weeks.
Mark Baer writing for Huffington Post, pointed out, “One thing that is a certainty is that a woman who gives birth to a child is the mother, unless she happens to be a surrogate. Whether or not any given man is the father is far less certain because he did not give birth to the child.”
While his comments may seem insensitive, they explain why men feel required by law or circumstance to prove or disprove their paternity. And, a convenient at-home DNA genetic test, processed by an authoritative lab, will satisfy their needs.