How to Determine the Paternity of Your Child

If you have any doubt about who the father of your baby is, you should get to the bottom of this issue as soon as you can. An official paternity DNA test is needed for accurate results. Establishing your baby’s paternity not only helps fill out his family tree, it also allows you to put the correct father on the birth certificate, collect child support and potentially qualify your child for Social Security, insurance benefits, inheritance rights, veterans’ benefits and other types of benefits from the father 1.

Locate a DNA or paternity testing facility in your area. These can be found in the phone book or with an Internet search. Your state’s department of social and human services can also direct you to a testing center 12.

Contact the testing center via phone or in person. Make an appointment, if needed, and pay any applicable fees.

Take your child with you to the testing center. If the potential father can attend the appointment with you, that’s great. If not, he will have to make his own appointment. This is a painless test. A Buccal swab will used to remove some cells from the inside of your mouth, as well as the mouth of your baby and the potential father. A genetic testing lab will look at the swabs, compare the DNA and put together a paternity report. This report will explain if it is likely that the man is the biological father. If there is more than one potential father, swabs should be taken from all possible candidates. The results are 99.9 percent accurate, according to the website of the Connecticut Department of Social Services 1.


Shortly after you baby is born, you and the father will be asked to sign an Affidavit of Parentage form. You can fill in the father’s name if you know for sure that he is the father, but you should never have a man sign the form if you have any doubts about the baby’s paternity.

If a potential father refuses to take a paternity test, you should seek legal counsel.