Can paternity testing be done without the mother?

Yes.  However…

(1) From a scientific standpoint, testing the mother is advantageous because it enables the lab to determine which half of the child’s genes came from her, and therefore which half came from the father.  This increases the conclusiveness of a paternity test.  Although in most routine paternity tests conclusive results are also obtained when the mother is not tested, there are certain situations in which testing the mother is very important and strongly recommended,  Consider a case in which a newborn child is to be tested with an alleged father who has not seen the child before and who is concerned that the mother might substitute another child in order to achieve a desired test outcome.  In such cases, testing the mother enables the lab to confirm that the child tested is indeed hers, because they would match each other genetically.  This type of concern has also been raised in some adoption cases, in which an alleged father seeking parental rights to a newborn child he has never seen is concerned that the presumptive adoptive parent(s) may substitute another infant in the test, with the intention of obtaining a paternity test result that excludes the alleged father.  Including the biological mother in the test eliminates this potential problem.  Finally, because it allows precise determination of a child’s paternal markers, testing the mother is of tremendous value in increasing the conclusiveness of more complex relationship tests, such as sibling tests, grandparent tests, avuncular tests, and tests involving closely-related possible fathers (such as brothers).

(2) From a legal standpoint, for legally-admissible paternity tests, if the mother will not be tested, then consent for testing any minor children (or legally-incapacitated adults) must be provided by the mother, by another adult having the legal authority to provide consent, or by court-order.  Evidence of legal authority or legal guardianship must be provided.

Posted in: Paternity Testing - Basics