Although the most accurate means of establishing the biological father of a child is by DNA paternity testing, what if the presumed father is not present to provide a sample? What if he refuses to provide the DNA sample, or is either unavailable or even deceased? 

Laboratories can identify specific genetic markers that can prove the paternity of a child beyond legal doubt.  They can also prove that a subject is not the father of the child. Sometimes suspected fathers are not available for such tests, or are unwilling because they either do not want to be proved to be the parent, or are afraid that they might not be. In fact, there are ways of collecting DNA samples, even with such cases.

Using Blood Relatives for DNA Testing 

Disputes over the paternity of male children can be settled without doubt by technique known as DNA Relationship Testing on blood relatives of the child. It does not work with females, although there are other possibilities for providing evidence of the Paternity of girls.

Such test can be carried on the grandfather of the male child on the father’s side. Only blood relatives of the father can be used to prove or deny the paternity of the son, and in addition to the grandfather, a brother, uncle or cousin on the father’s side of the family can be used in the real father’s absence.  Here is why.

During the human reproduction process, the male sperm has 23 chromosomes, only half the number of chromosomes of the human cell, and the female the same 23. Of these 23, 22 are autonomous, and one is the sex chromosome. In the female egg, the 23 chromosomes contain a sex chromosome of the X type, and in the male the 23 chromosomes contain either the X type or the Y type.  The full complement of 46 is attained when they combine to produce an embryo with either two X chromosomes (female) or an X and a Y (male).

The Y chromosomes pass down the male line virtually unchanged, so analysis of the Y chromosomes should indicate paternity.  In fact, technology has advanced so that by means of a technique known as Y-STR (Y-Short Term repeats) small sections of the Y chromosomes can be analyzed and be used to prove whether an individual is or is not the father of a male child.

Any male down the blood line of the suspected father can be used due the unchanging nature of the Y chromosome: once the line is broken by an unrelated father, the chromosomes change. In this way, the actual father need not provide the sample – only a blood male relative.

You should contact the company that will by carrying out the paternity test and seek their advice as to the best type of test for your needs, and who should be provide the samples. There are varying cost implications involved with the various types of test, so make sure that you are meeting your legal obligations while getting the right type of test to meet your objectives.

How long will my results take?

In cases of inheritances or other situations requiring a court case, it is not unusual for a judge to request a DNA test. Depending on your situation, you will need to assess the best way to go about this as well as the options you have.  In terms of the turnaround time for your results, this will vary. Certain tests could take longer than others as they may be more complex. Standard turnaround time for X chromosome testing or mitochondrial DNA testing is longer than for a standard paternity test. Luckily, many DNA testing companies offer express testing to get your results faster.


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