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How does paternity testing work?

If you’re a father in Missouri and have concerns about paternity, you may be considering DNA testing. While this can be a tough decision to make, it’s crucial that you establish correct paternity for both your well-being as well as that of the child. You probably also have questions about the process, such as how long tests take and how they’re conducted. The Cleveland Clinic answers this and other questions so you can make the best decision for your future.

How Paternity Testing Works

A child has an equal share of DNA from each parent. Accordingly, taking a sample of the child’s and potential father’s DNA can determine if there is a match. Some tests require blood to be drawn while others use a sample of skin cells (also known as buccal cells) inside that cheek that are obtained via swab. Some tests can also be performed before a child is born (although these tests pose a health risk to the mother, so they are rarely utilized).


DNA testing for paternity purposes is extremely accurate. Accuracy is 99% when there is a match, which is why they’re so relied upon when determining correct lineage. While home DNA tests are also extremely accurate (when performed correctly), they are not admissable in court. This is because your identity must be properly confirmed at the testing clinic for the court to recognize the results. 

How Long Before Results Are Available

In most cases,results fo buccal cell testing is available within 5 to 10 days, while prenatal testing typically takes about four weeks to be processed. The relatively quick turn around time is thanks to advancements in DNA testing, which is also responsible for its 99% accuracy.


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