How to Get a DNA Paternity Test Done Locally

By Alan Li
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Several reasons can motivate someone to get a paternity test done for a child. Perhaps you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing who fathered your child or perhaps you need the results to establish a claim for financial support. DNA testing is the most accurate and most widely accepted method for figuring out the identity of your child's father.

Finding DNA Testing Centers

Although no single overarching directory of DNA testing centers exists, finding one close to you is simple. Enter "DNA testing center" followed by the name of your city into any search engine to bring up a list of the desired services. Alternatively, you can also check with local hospitals to see whether they do DNA testing or can refer you to a lab that does. A general directory such as the Yellow Pages is also highly effective at finding the services you need.

Preparing for the DNA Test

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a DNA-based paternity test costs anywhere from $400 to $2,000, depending on the area where you live and the test that you take. If raising the money for the paternity test is beyond your means, you might be able to find a place to get a free test done by consulting your state's office of child support enforcement. You can also try searching for agencies that offer free paternity testing, but doing so independently is both inefficient and time-consuming.

Getting the DNA Testing Done

Paternity tests using DNA requires samples from the mother, the possible father, and the child. Modern day post-natal testing is fairly simple. Because DNA can be found in all cells, most DNA tests only require a buccal swab to get the necessary information. Prenatal DNA testing is not so simple and requires more invasive procedures. In all cases, listen to the instructions of the people conducting the testing carefully to avoid mishaps.

Alternative to Local DNA Testing

You can choose to get a home paternity test done instead of heading to a DNA testing center. Home paternity tests are desirable because they are both more affordable and more discreet. However, not all home paternity tests can be used as evidence in court because accredited legal paternity tests require proof of identify and the presence of a neutral third-party to serve as witness. If you buy an accredited legal paternity test to use at home, follow all of the provided instructions when mailing out the samples unless you aren't concerned about using the results in court.

About the Author

Alan Li started writing in 2008 and has seen his work published in newsletters written for the Cecil Street Community Centre in Toronto. He is a graduate of the finance program at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce and has additional accreditation from the Canadian Securities Institute.