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How to Get a DNA Test?

 There are two types of DNA tests namely:

  • Legal DNA Test – This can be used in a court of law for various requirements like child custody, immigration, and other legal requirements.
  • Non-Legal DNA Test—This is an informational DNA test used only for a person’s peace of mind.

Legal Considerations for Covert DNA Testing

 Legal DNA Test

  • A court can request a DNA test if the mother refuses to have a DNA test done on a child. The court has a legal right to override the mother’s lack of test participation for the child’s benefit.
  • A father looking to get a DNA test without the consent of the mother must be the custodial father of the child. If he is not, he is required to have consent from the child’s biological mother or the child’s legal guardian.
  • There are some circumstances where the father refuses to test, is incarcerated and cannot be tested, is deceased, or has health reasons like genetic issues, etc. Under this circumstance if the child is a minor a legal guardian and or the mother of the child must consent to have the child tested.

If the appropriate parties do not provide consent, the DNA test cannot be conducted.

Non-Legal DNA test

  • This is an informational test that a father can conduct if he is named the custodial father on the birth certificate. The mother’s consent is not required in this case.
  • If the father is not a custodial parent and the child is underage, there must be consent from a legal guardian that the child can be tested.
  • If the child is over  18 years old, they must consent to the DNA test even if the mother does not.

Ethical Dilemmas in DNA Testing: The Right to Know vs. Privacy

A child deserves the best parenting outcome. To achieve this goal, states in the USA have established laws governing the testing requirements for children.

The need-to-know versus Privacy issue is often debated, but there are clear laws regarding when DNA is required.

In Maryland [1], the law “allows you to establish paternity through a court order or an Affidavit of Parentage form.”

Here are some circumstances where a DNA test is required. In these circumstances, the Right to Know vs. Privacy is justified.

Medical and Genetic Reasons:

Knowing a family’s medical or genetic predisposition to diseases will help a child navigate and manage their health into adulthood. Knowing who the child’s father is can also help a child in the event of a health situation.

Child benefits:

Knowing a father of a child could benefit the child in terms of inheritance, life insurance, social security benefits and health insurance. This keeps the child safe into adulthood, and even in adulthood, it gives the child a sense of parenthood and financial support.

Getting a DAN test early, even if the mother is absent, will help in the journey to establish parenthood.