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How to Ask Someone to Take a Paternity Test Understanding the Cost: Paternity Test Fees

Understanding the Cost: Paternity Test Fees

It is important to understand that you can’t expect a set cost; paternity test fees vary depending on the type of test needed. Simple DNA tests used for your own curiosity cost far less than a court-appointed paternity test.

Paternity Test Methods

Generally, there are two methods for paternity tests-prenatal and postnatal. Each method features a selection of ways in which the DNA sample is collected. This also plays a part in the overall cost of a paternity test.

Prenatal paternity tests require a DNA sample from the fetus before it is born. Prenatal testing is high risk because it increases the risk for premature labor or miscarriage, so most courts prefer to wait until the child is born. Prenatal testing occurs in one of two ways.

  1. Amniocentesis: A long needle penetrates the pregnant mother’s abdomen and travels through the uterus and into the fetus. An ultrasound helps the doctor guide the needle to prevent injuring the fetus’s delicate organs like the eyes or heart.
  2. Chorionic Villus Sampling: IV tubing passes through the vagina and into the uterus. Inside the uterus, a scraping of the placenta is taken. The uterus contains tissue from the same egg as the fetus. CVS testing protects the fetus, but infection, miscarriage and premature labor remain risks.

Because the riskier procedures increase risk and medical cost, paternity test procedures of this nature require OB/GYN approval. Only in rare occasions will a prenatal paternity test happen.

Postnatal Paternity Test

Postnatal testing has a lower cost; paternity test procedures offer less risk. Typically, typically only labs charge fees saving you money. Expect six methods for DNA sample collection.

  • Blood sample collection
  • Cheek swab
  • Hair sample
  • Semen sample
  • Skin scraping
  • Umbilical cord sample

For the infant, an umbilical cord sample is easiest and the least painful. With children, hair samples or skin scrapings effectively capture DNA without causing them pain.

Most adult males will have blood drawn for court ordered tests. These blood samples are drawn at a local medical office or lab. Contact the American Pregnancy Association for the location of court-approved facilities near you.

Home paternity tests include swabs that you use to scrape cells from the inside of your cheek. This is the least invasive manner for an adult. Remember that home testing is not admissible in court.

Cost of Paternity Testing

Expect a prenatal DNA test to cost well over $500 for the lab testing plus the fees of the ultrasound technician and OB/GYN visit. Expect to pay approximately $300 for the amniocentesis, $200 for the ultrasound and upwards of $1,000 for Chorionic Villus Sampling. This is a high cost. Paternity test procedures generally are not covered by insurance, though it never hurts to try.

Postnatal paternity testing is more affordable. Lab fees range from $300 for home testing to $1,000 for expedited legal DNA tests. It is best to avoid expedited testing because of the cost. Paternity test results return in two weeks, usually, so the wait isn’t bad. The sample collection costs less than $100.

If you must foot the entire cost, paternity test postnatal methods remain the best choice. Make sure you leave time for the lab testing and you will save money.