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Cheating in a Paternity Test (Part I)

Paternity testing is highly accurate and reliable. The demand for this test is growing and it has by far out done any other means available to determine paternity. However, the accuracy of the test can be compromised, results flawed, laboratory testing hampered or made entirely impossible if there is cheating in the paternity Test.

How is a Paternity Test done?

To understand how paternity test cheaters manage to cheat we need to first and foremost understand how we do a paternity test. Most paternity DNA tests are at-home tests. This means that the company carrying out such tests will send you a kit containing oral swabs and you will have to collect your own DNA samples by simple rubbing the provided swabs in the mouth. Once you have finished the DNA sample collection you will send back the swabs for laboratory analysis.

How does one cheat in a paternity test ?

Cheaters are known to use a couple of basic ways of cheating; the main ones being:
• They may ask someone who is not meant to take part in the test to submit DNA samples on their behalf
• They may try to swab and animal instead or contaminate their own swabs, deliberately or on purpose, by not accurately following instructions
• They may try to switch swabs and thus, for example, a test participant may place the mother’s swabs in the father’s envelopes

I suspect someone may cheat how can I avoid it?

If you suspect someone may cheat in a paternity test there are certain measure you can take. You could for example have all test participants meet up together and take the DNA samples in each other’s presence. In this was everyone becomes a witness to each other’s and it would be difficult for anyone to cheat in any of the above examples given.  If people living in different geographical locations are involved in the testing, matters can get complicated as it may be difficult for everyone to meet up.

The case is even more complicated if they live in different countries (what is referred to as cross border paternity testing). In such case, if you strongly doubt the integrity of a test participant and feel they may cheat, you might want to go for a legal paternity test. In the case of this test, all DNA samples are taken by an independent third party who actually takes the DNA samples and verifies who those samples have come from.
Legal testing involves added costs and added time.

Generally, it is uncommon for people to cheat in a paternity test and in the end attempts to cheat will likely be revealed. You can understand more about cheating and how cheating is detected in part ii of this article.



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