DNA Testing Services For The Unborn Child
DNA Testing in an Unborn Child
Although not a routine procedure, DNA testing of an unborn child can be done under a variety of circumstances to test for gene abnormalities and to help establish paternity. There is a risk to the procedure and it is usually limited to women over 35 years of age or to families with a history of genetic disease. Unless absolutely necessary and directed by a doctor most unborn child will not be DNA tested unless a valid, specific medical reason exists.
Up until recently it simply was not possible to test newborns until they were at least six months old. Today, blood samples that are obtained from the umbilical cord at birth is the most easiest and non-intrusive method of obtaining a DNA sample from a newborn for use in paternity testing or for other genetic tests. The sample will be taken at birth from the child's umbilical cord while samples from the mother may be collected at any time – the mother may submit either hair samples, cheek cells or any other sample that contains cells. These samples will then be sent to the lab for testing and DNA profiling and analysis. If the suspected father has also submitted samples for DNA analysis prior to birth then testing can begin almost immediately after the birth.
One of the rapidly growing areas in the field of DNA paternity testing is the ability to perform DNA paternity tests during the prenatal stage of a child's birth. While the ability to perform a prenatal test for paternity has existed for a number of years it was not routinely performed because it presented a risk to the unborn child. In addition, it could often take up to 2 months for the results to come back – by which time the child may already be born. Thanks to advances in sampling procedures the ability to do prenatal tests are changing and becoming more widely accepted and safer procedures. Even with advances in the collection procedures, the need to do paternity test before birth is so small that many hospitals and doctors do not endorse this method of testing still today. The timeline for analysis still remains up to 8 weeks which in many cases negates the reason for doing a prenatal test.
Testing of an uborn child for paternity is usually only done where there is an immediate financial matter of risk, or other legal ramifications. The risk to the fetus is present in any type of prenatal obtrusions and the factors should be weighed heavily when deciding to have DNA testing performed. In all cases, and courts have backed this up, the medical professionals will have the final say on whether DNA testing can be performed on unborn infants. In some cases it simply is not possible to perform the testing at a certain stage because the risk to the unborn infant is too substantial.
If you want to get more information about unborn infant DNA testing you should start by consulting with your prenatal specialist. They will explain the risks and factors behind it as well as explain the process in more detail.