DNA testing can provide a lot of information to an adoptive family about their child. DNA testing is done for two reasons in the adoption community. The first reason is for people who are placing a child for adoption. Sometimes a paternity test is required so a biological father can rescind his parental rights for the adoption to proceed.
The second most common reason for DNA testing in adoption is for verifying birth relatives later in life. This helps with taking away an adoptee's uncertainty of connecting with their potential birth parent. However, with open adoption becoming more common, there's often no need for a DNA test. That's because the adopted child grows up knowing his or her adoption story, origins, and birth parents. By remaining in contact with their birth parents, they don't have to conduct a search for them, and then undergo a DNA test.
Today, DNA testing is incredibly easy. A simple saliva test with Ancestry.com or 23andMe can reveal a TON of information about a child’s biological history.
In cases where the DNA test is required for legal purposes, like proving paternity for an adoption to proceed, people can go to a local collection center. They just go in and get a painless cheek swab with what looks like a giant Q-tip.
People are understandably often very anxious to get their DNA results back. Collection facility results typically take one to two business days to receive. Home tests take quite a bit longer, up to eight weeks if the lab is backlogged.
Who Usually Gets Tested?
Typically, the child and the father are the only ones who get tested. However, in cases where the family is interested in full genetic results, DNA from the birth mother can be helpful. Prenatal testing is not carried out very often, but it does happen in some cases.
Paternity testing can be done in a few different ways. The first is with a CVS test where doctors take a small sample of the placenta. These tests are typically performed between 8 and 11 weeks gestation. CVS testing is most commonly used to test for genetic conditions.
Amnio testing is the second commonly used method of prenatal genetic screening. A sample of the amniotic fluid is taken between 13 and 20 weeks gestation. This method is used when the paternity of the baby is in question. Once a mother passes the 20-week mark, genetic testing must wait until the child is born. It is an invasive procedure that can induce labor past 20 weeks.
Once the baby is born, there is no waiting period. A lot of times, the doctor will take a blood sample from the umbilical cord. It’s very easy to do if they have the kit on-site. Adoption professionals or families can call in and request the kit be ready at the birth. We definitely recommend this if you want to get DNA questions resolved as quickly as possible.
Happy Endings Happen All the Time!
DNA testing has led to some beautiful adoption reunion stories. Adoptees can use DNA testing to find a relative they were looking for or confirm a suspected relation. This has helped many establish relationships later in life that are incredibly important in their identity.