Our DNA contains a treasure trove of information about who we are and how we will develop and function. Doing a DNA test while pregnant can help you tap into that vault to find out more about the fetus inside you.
One of the main reasons for getting a DNA test in the womb is to get intel on the health of your baby. So how does this work?
Basically, it’s a blood test that helps screen for several health conditions, from Down syndrome to heart defects to cystic fibrosis.
Your doctor should offer genetic testing to you, but it’s up to you whether you would like to go through with it.
(It’s important to note that while this information can be useful to you to help you plan your future, it can also land you with some seriously difficult decisions to make. You do what’s right for you.)
It’s also possible to get a DNA prenatal paternity test.
The test involves testing a sample of the fetal DNA against the potential father’s DNA to see if there’s a match.
These tests can be useful in establishing who is legally and socially responsible for your baby. They can also give you important information about your baby’s medical history. Here are the details:
Paternity test while pregnant FAQs
A DNA paternity test is done in three possible ways:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): A sample is taken from the tissue of the placenta, usually via a tube or needle that’s inserted into your cervix. This type of testing comes with an increased risk of pregnancy loss, so the benefits need to be weighed against the risks.
- Amniocentesis: Here, the sample is taken from the amniotic fluid (the liquid surrounding your baby) with a thin needle that’s inserted into your uterus. Like CVS, this test increases the risk of miscarriage. It can also lead to cramping, leaking of the amniotic fluid, and vaginal bleeding.
- Non-invasive prenatal paternity testing (NIPP): All that’s needed to perform this test is a cheek swab from the potential father and a blood sample from you. To lower the risk, it’s definitely the way to go. It’s why the American Pregnancy Association recommends this test as the go-to for prenatal paternity DNA testing.
When can you do a DNA test on an unborn baby?
The good news is that NIPP testing can be done as early as seven weeks.
If you’re looking into the other options, amniocentesis is usually performed between week 14 and 20, while CVS is usually around week 10 to 13.
How accurate is a paternity test while pregnant?
A prenatal paternity DNA test is accurate—as in almost 100% accurate.
In this 2013 study, scientists tested a sample of 21 confirmed biological fathers. Bar one sample which didn’t include enough DNA for the test, every test was able to accurately identify the father.
And, on the other side of the coin, when tested against someone who was definitely not the father, 99.95% were able to rule out paternity.
This 2020 study revealed similar results.
Where can I get a DNA test while pregnant?
If you need the test done for legal reasons, it must be done by medical professionals.
Your doctor’s consent will be needed before you go ahead.
We know these conversations can be difficult to have—but there’s absolutely zero shame in having them.
You want to make an informed decision about the health and wellbeing of you and your baby. That’s commendable.
How much does it cost to get a DNA test while pregnant?
The costs vary depending on what kind of test you’d like to have.
NIPP testing (the non-invasive, low-risk kind) is, unfortunately, more expensive, with costs reaching the $2,000 mark.
The reason, as theAmerican Pregnancy Association explains, is that your DNA has to be separated from the DNA of your fetus—and this process requires some expensive technology.
Other kinds of tests can be performed for less, starting from about $400.
Does insurance cover DNA testing while pregnant?
Generally, insurers cover procedures that they deem to be medically necessary.
That means that if your doctor recommends DNA testing, your insurance will often cover it.
All situations are unique. You know what your needs and resources are.
And if you need support during what can be a challenging time, reach out—to friends, counselors, and your Peanut community.
You don’t have to do this alone.