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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Tests, X-Rays & Imaging > Paternity Test

Paternity Test Cost

How Much Does a Paternity Test Cost?

low costLow: Home Test Kit (After Birth) $150average costMedium: Lab Test (After Birth) $400-$800high costHigh: Prenatal (Before Birth) Testing $1,000-$2,000
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Paternity testing can be performed either during pregnancy, after a child is born or in adulthood. Reasons for testing include personal knowledge and to resolve legal questions, such as changing a name on a birth certificate or determining child support responsibilities. Usually, the child's DNA sample, the mother's DNA and the alleged father's DNA are used to perform the test.

Typical costs:

  • For patients not covered by health insurance, paternity testing after a child is born, in which DNA material usually is collected through a simple cheek swab, typically costs about $150 total for an at-home test purchased in a drugstore and sent to a laboratory up to between $400 and $800 for a standard laboratory test. For example, the Identigene[1] at-home test costs $149 and Genetic Profiles Corporation[2] offers tests for $500 for a standard case and $730 for a case in which the biological mother's DNA is not available.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, prenatal paternity testing, in which DNA material is collected through a more invasive procedure, typically costs about $1,000 to $2,000. For example, DDC DNA Testing Center[3] estimates that, on top of the $475 for the DNA test, the DNA collection, which must be done by a gynecologist, would add $500 to $1,500, so the total could be as much as $2,000.
  • Paternity testing typically is not covered by health insurance because it is not a medically necessary procedure. However, for prenatal paternity testing, if a woman must have an amniocentesis for reasons other than paternity testing, a DNA sample collection can be done at the same time.
Related articles: Child Custody Attorney

What should be included:
  • For a test to be admissible in court, chain-of-custody procedures must be followed; that means the parties must have samples collected by impartial third parties, usually at a collection center for the laboratory performing the test, and will have to present valid photo identification and be fingerprinted.
  • To collect a DNA sample for a prenatal paternity test, a doctor performs one of two ultrasound-guided procedures: either chorionic villi sampling, in the 10th through 13th week of pregnancy, in which the doctor pushes a catheter or long needle through the abdomen to collect cells from the placenta; or an amniocentesis, in the 14th through 24th week, in which the doctor uses a long needle to collect amniotic fluid.
  • In a post-natal paternity test, a sample typically is taken -- usually a swab from inside the cheek, or possibly blood -- from the biological mother, the alleged father and the child.
  • After the samples are collected, either pre- or post-natally, a chemical is added to the samples in a laboratory, and a technician analyzes 16 different locations on the DNA of each individual and then creates DNA profiles. The technician then compares the DNA profile of the child to that of the alleged father and performs a statistical calculation of the probability of paternity -- from 0 percent to 99.99 percent. It usually takes a few days to a week to process the test.
  • The nonprofit American Pregnancy Association[4] provides an overview of paternity testing.
Shopping for a paternity test:
  • It is recommended that paternity testing be done at a facility accredited by the AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks. The AABB[5] provides a list of accredited laboratories by state.
  • The DNA sample collection for prenatal testing involves invasive procedures that carry some risk, including miscarriage; it is important to discuss the risks with your gynecologist. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists[6] offers a doctor finder by state.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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