Tests to prove or disprove paternity

When it comes to proving paternity the court accepts three types of tests

·         Analysing the red blood cells
The test is based on analyzing the red blood cells of the child, the mother, and the man who might be the dad. By identifying the blood type of each individual, it’s possible to establish that the mancannot be the father of the child, as parents who belong to certain blood types can only conceive children who fall within a restricted number of blood types. This test can’t, however, determine that the man is indeed the dad; it can only determine when it’s impossible for him to be the dad. It’s the least reliable test of the three.
·         Analysing the white blood cells
This test is 99.9% accurate. It is based on analysing the white blood cells of the child, his mother, and the alleged father to determine whether the child has inherited one haploid (an organism or cell having only one complete set of chromosomes) of each parent. With this test it’s possible to identify the man as the father of the child with near-perfect accuracy. It’s more expensive than analyzing the red blood cells, but cheaper than a DNA test.
·         The DNA test
Descendants inherit the DNA patterns of their parents. With this test, you’re able to distinguish the DNA that was inherited from the child’s mother from that which was inherited from the father. You can thus determine with certainty whether the man is the father of the child, but it won’t come cheap.
Where to find out more …
Unistel Medical Laboratories is a company owned by the University of Stellenbosch. It provides information on paternity tests.
Gene Care gives information about ordering tests.
You can also speak to your GP about the best options if all parties have agreed to a test.

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