Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic material transferred from both mother and father to their child. Paternity refers to fatherhood. Hence, a DNA paternity test uses DNA samples from a man and his offspring, to determine whether a man is the child’s biological father.
In Nigeria, there’s been an increasing number of cases of Fathers who discovered that they are not the biological father of their presumed children. These shocking revelations and the publicity of stories like this on various media spaces have engendered more Fathers to opt for a DNA test.
Whether you want to satisfy your curiosity, have peace of mind, or are looking to confirm what you already know about your family, here is a comprehensive guide to taking a paternity DNA test in Nigeria.
1) Know the type of Paternity DNA test you need
From Paternity DNA test which determines the biological father of a child to Legal DNA test which is needed by the court to provide legal evidence about a child’s biological father, all the types of DNA tests have their specific purpose.
There are 5 types of Paternity tests available in Nigeria;
- Peace of Mind Paternity Test
- Immigration DNA Test
- Legal DNA Test.
- Prenatal DNA Test
- Avuncular DNA Test
Peace of Mind Paternity Test
The Peace of Mind/ Personal paternity DNA test is the type of DNA test fathers would do to clear the doubt about the supposed offspring. The DNA tests can do this, by looking at the Father’s DNA to determine if it matches the offspring’s DNA and gives a result.
Home samples can be collected at home or any other convenient location with the use of a Home Sample Collection kit.
Immigration DNA Test
The Immigration DNA test is the paternity test that is done by fathers who want to prove to the immigration office that they are the biological father of their children for the purpose of migrating their children to another country. Immigration DNA tests can be used for migration to the UK, USA, Canada, etc.
If the test is done to provide evidence of the biological mother of a child to the immigration office, then the test carried out would be a Maternity DNA Test.
Legal DNA Test
The legal DNA test offers a court-approved legal DNA test for fathers who need their test results to be used in a court of law. A DNA legal test can be used to settle different family-related legal matters like alimony, child custody, child support, inheritance dispute, change of name on birth certificate e.t.c.
Chain of custody for Legal and Immigration Test
Chain of custody refers to the series of documentation that shows the procedures carried out to ensure the identity of the DNA samples being tested and handled properly. The whole purpose of this procedure is to avoid tampering and to establish the legal status of the evidence.
Prenatal Paternity DNA Test
The prenatal paternity DNA test checks for a match between the potential father’s DNA and the baby while the mother is still pregnant. To determine paternity, DNA is taken from the mother and potential father to know the biological father of the child.
Avuncular DNA Test
The term “avuncular,” means resembling an uncle, hence an Avuncular DNA Test is a test in which the DNA of a child is compared to that of a biological aunt or uncle to confirm if the child is related to the family. This type of DNA is usually an option if the father of the child is dead or unavailable.
2) Understand the effect of the paternity DNA test result on your life
Before you opt for a paternity DNA test, It is important to assess the effect of both positive and negative results on your life and the life of your relatives (your partner, children, extended family, and friends). Envisaging both positive and negative outcomes of the test allows you to prepare your mind for what the result may be and take a legal and well-thought-out decision to avoid emotional, physical, or financial damage to all the parties involved.
3) Choose a DNA testing Center (Prioritize Privacy & Accuracy of Result)
Choosing a DNA testing center is similar to choosing a personal physician or a hospital, you want to ensure that you have your privacy and confidentiality, you also want to look at their ability to deliver accurate results. However, for DNA testing centers in Nigeria, there are a lot of things you should consider before settling for where to take your DNA test.
Some of them are:
- Does the company’s website appear to be transparent enough in terms of pricing, methodology, client testimonials, address, etc.?
- Does the company have the experience and facility to deliver the best results or do they have partnerships with experienced DNA companies Abroad?
- Does the company offer consultation with a genetics professional if you have questions about your test results?
- Does the company have any certifications from a recognized governing body?
Finally, it is always advisable to ask more questions from the company’s helpdesk about Terms & Agreements, company policy, Test result delivery & collections, timelines, etc.
4) Learn how to take the Paternity test correctly
One important factor that affects every test result including the DNA paternity test is the sample collection procedure. When the sample is not collected properly the outcome of the test might be inconclusive, inaccurate or in some cases, the lab might not be able to use the sample for the test. This would lead to a waste of material resources and time on both the DNA Company and the client’s side. Hence, it is best to ask for sample collection instructions from the company before you proceed to take your sample at Home.
For the Home Paternity test, sample collection is always done using a simple sample collection kit. Most times a sample collection kit always has cotton swabs provided by the testing company to pick DNA materials from saliva.
In some cases where the saliva samples are not accessible, samples like hairs, bloodstains, fingernails, clothes e.t.c. can be used as alternatives.
Finally, for the immigration paternity tests, Samples must be collected by an independent third party, typically a medically registered professional such as your family doctor or practice nurse. This person is called the sampler, and they are responsible for verifying the identity of each party being tested.
5) Deciding your next line of Action
Oftentimes when the paternity DNA test results are ready and given to the client, the rush of emotions depending on the expected outcome of the result by the client always engenders brash or sometimes regretful action. This is why it is advisable to speak to a counselor before taking any actions after the paternity DNA test results are out.
We wish you the best of luck.