Paternity is different from legitimization. The latter establishes your legal relationship with a child, while the former establishes your biological relationship.
An important tool in establishing paternity is DNA testing. A DNA test is easy and painless, but if you have never taken one before, you may have questions about it. The Cleveland Clinic provides some answers about DNA testing.
What happens during a paternity test?
You provide samples of your own DNA and that of the child to a laboratory. Technicians compare both samples, looking for matches in DNA structure that indicate a biological relationship.
How do you collect a sample?
Most DNA test samples involve swabbing the inside of your mouth with a cotton swab to collect cells from the inside of your cheek. The medical term for this is a buccal smear. Some DNA testing works off of blood samples. In theory, just about any bodily tissue could become a sample for DNA testing purposes.
How accurate is DNA testing?
If you are not the father, the test will exclude you with 100% accuracy. If you are the father, a DNA test will confirm this 99.9% of the time. In other words, DNA testing is extremely accurate.
How long does it take to get the results back?
It usually takes five to 10 days to get the results of a buccal cell test back. Though rarely performed, it is also possible to collect a sample from the placenta or amniotic fluid for testing before the baby is born. The results of these types of tests are usually not available for three to four weeks.