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Noninvasive pre-birth paternity test developed

A paternity test can be a very impactful thing. Such tests can go a long way in determining the rights and responsibilities of an individual regarding a child. When one thinks of a paternity test, one's mind likely goes to tests that are performed after a child is born. Recently, MLive.com reported on a new type of paternity test which is done before a child is born.

The test reportedly involves taking a blood sample from the pregnant mother and then comparing fragments of fetus DNA that are in said blood sample to a DNA sample of the possible father (taken through things such as a cheek swab).

This test is not the first pre-birth paternity test that has been developed. What makes this test different from previous pre-birth tests is its noninvasiveness. Previous pre-birth paternity tests were fairly invasive and involved risks (such as miscarriage risks). Given the new test's noninvasiveness, one wonders if the new test will make pre-birth paternity testing a more commonly used option.

The cost of the new test currently is upwards of three times the cost of a traditional, post-birth paternity test.

One important question that arises in regards to the new test is: how accurate is it? A study was conducted in which the test was used in 30 different instances. Reportedly, in all 30 of the instances, the test identified the child's father correctly. It is worth noting that this sample size is rather small. One wonders if any future studies will be conducted regarding the accuracy of this new paternity testing method and, if they are, what results said studies yield.

A couple of other questions arise in connection to this new test. How common will the use of this test prove to be in upcoming years? If use of this test does become fairly popular, what impact will it have on paternity cases? It will be interesting to see what the answers to these questions turn out to be.

Source: MLive.com, "Kalamazoo lab first in West Michigan to conduct new prenatal paternity test," Yvonne Zipp, Dec. 4, 2012

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