In previous eras, the only way people could be “certain” that a son was indeed their son or a parent the real one was by familial resemblance and blind trust. This also was the case when it came to trusting that parents did indeed get the right baby when they left the hospital with their little bundle of joy. Fortunately in the modern era, any doubts regarding paternity can be eliminated through a scientific paternity test.
For most persons, in most situations, it really is not necessary to go through such a procedure. Hospitals accidentally swapping babies is a very uncommon occurrence, and children and parents share the same family life and know one another. But this does not hold true in all cases. Or, a man may have fathered a child by a particular woman but either does not know or will not admit to it. Another reason lies in the need to establish ancestry which may be uncertain due to confusion of birth and church records. A more important reason involves the discovery of crucial medical information which must be obtained if a patient needs an organ or bone marrow transplant. In that case, establishing paternity makes the difference between life and death.
A dna test is a relatively simple procedure these days and can be partly performed in the home. A buccal swab which is used to collect material from the mouth is used. DNA molecules are found in every cell of the body, so swabbing the mouth can very effectively collect enough material to perform a paternity test. Once the swab is taken and dried after an hour, the sample is then placed into a sterile container according to instructions enclosed with the kit. The package is then mailed to the lab for analysis, with the results sent to all interested parties either by e-mail or traditional mail. The wait time is no more than a few weeks. And as far as any concerns regarding the accuracy of a home paternity test are concerned, results can be guaranteed from the processing lab up to a 99.99% degree of certainty. This is sufficient to guarantee beyond doubt the finding of any test.
In the event that obtaining samples from one of the parties involved is not possible, alternative material such as hair can be sampled. DNA remains viable for decades. This was demonstrated in recent cases involving the examination of hair samples from persons dead for a century or longer to solve certain medical mysteries. Of course, with alternative sources, more material has to be gathered to guarantee accuracy. A third alternative is through the participation of grandparents who carry the same DNA as the parents.
Accuracy of results are guaranteed if the testing lab the samples are sent to follows all proper procedures. Accredited laboratories use the latest equipment which conforms to international standards and always cross-check their results twice. This is why a minimum two samples for each participant is requested. Always rely upon an accredited laboratory in all cases.