Doubts regarding the paternity of an unborn baby can transform a joyous pregnancy into a time of stress and strife. If you are pregnant and unsure as to the father of your child, or you simply want to prove to the man in your life that he has a baby on the way, you can accomplish this task in several ways. While potentially more complex than waiting until the arrival of your child, paternity testing while pregnant could, in some cases, prove the best choice.
Benefits of Paternity Testing
As negative as the experience of getting a paternity test may seem, there are benefits to doing so. As American Pregnancy Association reports, paternity testing can help your child gain access to benefits to which he would not otherwise be entitled. Tests of this type also help you ensure that you are aware of your child’s parentage and, as a result, his medical history. Additionally, paternity testing can help improve the bond between father and child, proving to the male parent unequivocally that he is the father.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
When a child is born to an unmarried woman, most states require the filing of an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP). This paper must be filed for a father to be listed on the birth certificate. After the AOP filing, the listed father has a limited amount of time to amend the filing. If he does not, he will be considered legally responsible for the child, regardless of whether he is genetically related to the child. By obtaining a paternity test during pregnancy, you can allow for rapid filing of this form immediately after your child’s birth.
One way to establish paternity during pregnancy is through the completion of an amniocentesis. During this test, a small amount of amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus via a thin needle. This test is available any time during the second trimester, between the 14th and 20th week of pregnancy.
Chorionic Villus Sampling Option
Through the use of chorionic villus sampling, you can establish paternity even earlier. This test can be performed between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. To complete this test, a doctor inserts a needle or tube into the vagina and through a tiny cervical opening. He then uses this needle or tube to take a small sampling of the tissues that line the uterine wall.
Risks of Paternity Testing During Pregnancy
Some doctors are hesitant to perform paternity testing during pregnancy. Instead, they prefer to wait for the birth of the child. This hesitancy arises from the fact that both the amniocentesis and the chorionic villus sampling methods pose a potential risk of miscarriage, a risk that is, in some doctors’ estimations, not worth it for the establishment of paternity alone.