Introduction

Paternity testing involves the laboratory determination of the parentage of a child. All genetic markers present in a child are derived from his or her bloodline parents. By examining the genetic markers of the biological mother and child, one can determine which genetic markers must come from the biological father. Because one’s genetic makeup remains the same throughout life, a paternity test can be performed at any age.

Paternity/parentage testing can be requested for a number of reasons:

  • A woman or man wishes to prove or disprove that they are the biological parent of a child.
  • For maintenance purposes e.g. if a man is paying maintenance for a child but has doubts about being the biological father or if a mother wishes to prove that a certain man is the biological father of her child or children.
  • For estate purposes i.e. the relatives of a deceased man may request testing if there is a claim against the estate by a woman alleging that the deceased man is the father of her child.
  • The parents of babies that may have been mixed-up soon after birth.
  • For birth certificates – Home Affairs requires a paternity test in order to change a child’s surname to that of the alleged father.
  • Individuals wishing to immigrate to certain countries where one or both of their parents are living.
  • Individuals that were adopted and who are trying to trace their biological parents.

By testing 15 loci plus the XY chromosome, the paternity test results will either exclude the alleged father 100% from being the father, or include him as being the true biological father with a probability of greater than 99.9%.