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A DNA test when the father is gone?


Published: 04/03/2018

Paternity testing is in principle one of the easiest tests to do, whether in the convenience of your home or at a professional collection centre. However, a lot of people often encounter situations where the father might not be available to participate in a test.

So what exactly does that mean? If the father’s not there, then there’s no way to get this very important information? Thankfully, this is not the case. Many people seeking paternity testing are quite surprised to learn that modern technology allows us to offer our clients several alternative options in accurately establishing paternity and here’s how:

Read more about DNA testing Canada

Special Samples: Just because somebody is not available to use a buccal swab and collect saliva, doesn’t mean that you can’t test several other samples (like hair, toothbrushes, used tissues, blood, cigarette butts, etc.) that you can collect without having direct access to the person. The list of special samples that can be tested is quite extensive and we invite you to check our Special Samples section for the full list of samples and detailed information on their testing success rates.

Testing Other Family Members: It is possible to test people related to the father in order to establish a paternal relationship. Parents, siblings and other children of the father are all acceptable candidates to be tested. While this type of testing is not as accurate as the traditional father-child testing method, it can still be used to determine paternity with a high degree of accuracy. And the more people you test, the higher the chances of getting the best level of accuracy. Please see our sections related to different types of Family Relationship testing or call us at 1 800 830-6306 for more information.

Whichever option you choose, please remember that although at a very advanced stage, the science of DNA testing is still reliant on some basic standards and cannot overcome absolutely all circumstances. Movies and TV shows make us believe that any sample from a person can be tested at any given time and always produce certain results.

DNA testing in real life is more complicated in the sense that if a sample does not contain a sufficient amount of DNA on it, then, regretfully, it will not provide results. So it is important to remember that special samples can fail, but on the plus side, if they succeed, they are just as accurate as standard methods of testing.

However, if testing the father is simply not possible, for any of the complicated reasons in our lives, don’t give up! Think about the alternative options available and call us at 1 800 830-6306 or email us at info@paternitytest.ca. We would be happy to offer you the best advice for your individual situation.

Let’s take a look at a few specific examples to better understand how these methods work and if they could apply to you.

I have been searching for my biological father for a long time and further to a lot of time and effort, I think I may have found him! However, I have just discovered that he passed away recently. Is there any way for me to know if he was in fact my father?

Quite often a question of paternity is more than just doubting whether the father is the biological father of a child. Several people grow up in difficult childhood circumstances and often do not know who their real father is. And whilst there are now more and more resources available, assisting people in tracing their biological parents, once you have one or more possible candidates, how exactly do you prove the biological relationship?

This is when a DNA paternity test becomes ultimately the only way to get an accurate and reliable answer to that question. But what if, like in the above example, the presumed parent has passed away by the time they are found?

It is definitely a very emotional and stressful endeavor, but even in situations like that there is still hope. As we mentioned above, one of the possibilities is testing a special sample. The person has passed away, but quite often his/her personal belongings (like a hairbrush, toothbrush, article of clothing) may have been kept for sentimental reasons. And because several special samples carry traces of the person’s DNA for some time, the sooner you obtain these samples, the higher the chance that a usable genetic profile can be obtained from them. For more information on special samples, please check the section on Special Samples.

Even if there are no belongings left behind, don’t despair! If the alleged father has living relatives (like his brothers/sisters, even parents or other children), inviting them to take part in a DNA test can also prove to be quite successful.

From another aspect, if you anticipate that your parent will be passing away soon and you would like to establish paternity/maternity before (or even after) it happens, we advise you to contact us immediately so that we can guide you through the proper procedure and advise on how to correctly collect samples. The quality of the samples is of utmost importance and there’s no second chance at collecting them once the person is gone. We will do our best to advise you on how to avoid the situation of having wrong or insufficient quality samples.

My father has passed away and I have doubts about him being my real father. Can I test other family members to confirm paternity?

Yes! As discussed in the above example, testing other family members is a very good alternative method in establishing paternity. Testing relatives always succeeds to produce results, but those results can be less accurate than special samples taken from the father.

If testing any samples from the father is not possible, then the next best option is to test relatives of the father, starting with his parents. After the father’s parents the next most reliable option are other children of the father and finally after that, siblings (brothers/sisters) of the father. If at all possible, it is recommended to test several relatives of the father at the same time as this will significantly boost the level of testing accuracy. Testing the mother of the child is always beneficial in establishing paternity and should be performed to further enhance the results if necessary.

I am no longer together with the father of my child. I suggested doing a paternity test and he has refused to participate. What can I do?

It can be quite stressful if a father outright refuses to do a paternity test. The complexity of your personal relationship can scare him or strongly off put him to the question of whether he is or not the father of a child.

You can always use the suggested alternative options for testing, such as the special samples and testing other relatives of the father, but this can also be difficult to arrange and could pose an even higher risk of alienation from the father depending on the test.

We understand that paternity testing is emotionally very hard for both the mother and the father and we would always recommend that they really make their best effort to discuss the issues in a civil manner and amicably agree to do a paternity test. However, if your situation is past that point, we would advise seeking legal counsel and working through the situation in an official manner.

The bottom line is that your best bet at establishing paternity is by testing the father directly. A simple paternity test provides results that are above 99.9 % accurate if the tested person is concluded to be the father and 100% accurate is the person is excluded as the biological father.