What Samples Can Be Used When Doing a DNA Paternity Test?

DNA paternity tests are widely used to determine biological relationships between individuals, particularly when establishing the paternity of a child.

It just takes a few high-quality samples for a DNA paternity test to get to the bottom of things, whether in legal cases or suspicion confirmation. These samples can be loose skin cells gotten from the suspected father, kid, and, if possible, the mother using a sterile medical-grade buccal swab.

However, in cases where one of the individuals in question had gotten a bone marrow transplant in the past, they’d have to resort to drawing blood from the purported father. In these situations, a blood sample is invaluable. But that’s not all! Here are a few examples of samples that can be used in a DNA paternity analysis.

Buccal Swab SamplesBuccal swab for sample taking

Buccal swabs are the most common go-to choice in DNA paternity testing. A buccal swab is collected by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of the cheek. It is a non-invasive and painless procedure that can be performed on individuals of any age, including infants and young children. The swab collects cells from the cheek, which contain DNA that can be used for the paternity test.

Blood Samples

Blood samples, while an option for DNA paternity tests, don’t steal the spotlight due to their invasive nature and the need for skilled medical professionals. They are mostly reserved for cases where the alleged parent is deceased or unable to provide a buccal swab.blood sample taken for dna test

However, there’s a twist. If the person being tested has received a blood transfusion in the past or is pregnant, then using blood samples becomes infeasible.

Also, when it comes to blood transfusions and DNA testing, there are important considerations. Unlike bone marrow transplants, the DNA from a blood transfusion is temporary in the recipient’s body. To ensure accurate results, it’s best to wait at least 90 days or more after a blood transfusion before using a blood sample for DNA testing. This waiting period allows any donor DNA to fade away, ensuring that the test accurately reflects the recipient’s own genetic profile.

Read more about blood type paternity test

Hair Samples

DNA paternity testing can be performed using hair samples, albeit with lower reliability than with buccal swab samples. The root of the hair sample must be preserved for reliable results. If the hair has naturally shed or been cut, the absence of the root may result in an insufficient DNA quantity for a reliable test. At our facility, for example, we have a strict “no hair samples allowed,” that is only relaxed if only the person to be tested is deceased.

Fetal DNA Samples

When it comes to DNA paternity testing before a child is even born, there are fascinating techniques at play. One approach involves analyzing fetal DNA present in the mother’s blood, while another entails collecting fetal tissue from the placenta or amniotic fluid.
However, it’s important to note that these procedures are invasive and carry a minimal risk to the fetus. In different scenarios, when DNA samples are required from a coroner’s office or funeral home, a range of options come into play. Blood, tissue, hair with roots, or even fingernail clippings with skin can be accepted by the lab. And that’s not even an exhaustive list!

For further possibilities, it’s best to check with your lab. Keep in mind, though, that non-standard samples might only be accepted if one of the individuals involved is deceased.

Buccal swabs have emerged as the gold standard for DNA paternity testing, owing to their convenience and exceptional accuracy. While alternative options like blood samples, hair samples, and fetal DNA samples are possible, they come with their own unique challenges.

However, to obtain reliable and trustworthy results from a paternity test, you should entrust the analysis to a legitimate laboratory, regardless of the chosen sample type. With this approach, you can guarantee that your test results will come out with the highest level of confidence.