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What kinds of DNA tests are there?

If you're pregnant and concerned about determining who the father of your child is, a paternity test can help. Proving paternity gives you the opportunity to seek child support and can resolve emotional and physical distress you may have due to being uncertain.

When you establish paternity, you have a better chance to establish social and legal benefits for both the mother and father of a child. Your child receives eligibility for veteran's, inheritance and social security benefits. Determining paternity also helps you by gaining access to an accurate medical history for your child, which can give doctors better insight when your child's health is in question.

One of the most important reasons for establishing paternity is to form the bond between a father and child. So, how do you go about getting a paternity test or assigning paternity? In most states, an Acknowledgement of Paternity form can be completed at the hospital voluntarily. If you want to get a DNA test following the signing of the form, then you have a limited time to do so but are able to arrange that with help from your attorney. That information should then be submitted to the court.

Post-natal paternity testing can be performed with the child's umbilical cord; a small sample of DNA is collected from it after your child is born. A cheek swab or blood collection can also be ordered. Prior to your child's birth, there are non-invasive and invasive tests that can be performed as well, and they can prove the identity of the child's father well before birth.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, "Paternity Testing," accessed Nov. 30, 2016

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