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Prenatal paternity test may soon be available in Las Vegas

Historically (and currently), the paternity of a child can only be conclusively determined after the child is born. Soon, however, that may no longer be the case. Researchers are working on a new prenatal paternity test which, if it becomes widely available in Las Vegas and throughout the U.S., could significantly change the process of – and mindset around – paternity testing.

Previously, prenatal paternity tests were only available using amniocentesis, a risky procedure in which a needle is inserted into the amniotic sac. The new test is much less invasive, requiring only a blood draw from the mother and a cheek swab from the putative father in order to compare fragments of the fetus’ DNA, which are present in the pregnant woman’s blood, with that of the man.

There are many benefits to prenatal paternity testing. Studies show that a baby tends to be healthier when his father supports his mother, both financially and emotionally, during her pregnancy. And having a conclusive knowledge that a man is or is not the father will provide greater peace of mind to both parents and all other parties involved.

One uncertainty regarding prenatal paternity testing is what effect it will have on child support. Currently, the child support obligation begins after a baby is born. If prenatal testing becomes widespread, lawmakers could seek a change in their state’s family laws to require a father to financially support the baby’s mother through pregnancy and childbirth, helping to pay for her medical and living expenses, among other things. It remains to be seen whether that scenario will come to be.

Source: MLive, “Kalamazoo lab first in West Michigan to conduct new prenatal paternity test,” Yvonne Zipp, Dec. 4, 2012

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