Paternity DNA testing: blood sample vs. saliva sample

If you plan doing a paternity DNA test, you will need to send in a saliva sample for the alleged father, child and mother. Many people think that blood is the medium used for extracting DNA. However, nowadays, blood samples are rarely used as saliva has many more advantages over their blood counterparts.

A few words about DNA and DNA samples

All cells in the human body can be used to extract DNA and thus, potentially, hair, teeth, bones, skin, blood, semen, and a number of other samples could all be possible options. Red blood cells are the exception because red blood cells do not contain a nucleus. A nucleus is a structure within the cell containing the DNA. You can think of this in terms of Chinese boxes; the outer box is the cell, inside it is nucleus and inside that nucleus is the DNA.

There are many DNA samples you can send besides those mentioned above. However, some samples are better than others. DNA which is stored under optimal conditions can remain unchanged for a very long time and thus, when choosing a sample always fully follow the guidelines given to you by the genetic testing company which will establish whether the sample you have is viable or not.

I would like to use blood for my paternity DNA test

There is no reason why one should use blood for a DNA paternity test when they can use saliva. Blood does offer a high success rate because there are many white blood cells containing the DNA needed for your test. However, there are many drawbacks with such a sample.

  • You will need to pay a doctor to take the blood.
  • A needle will be used to puncture your vein and draw blood.
  • Children and adults often have a psychological fear of injections.
  • If you are overweight or obese, finding your vein may require more than one puncture.

The disadvantages of blood draws for your paternity test far outweigh the advantages. Although it is the sample offers a high success rate, there are many other DNA samples that are equally successful and easier to collect.

Paternity testing using a saliva sample?

Saliva is the definitive sample to use for your paternity DNA test. Saliva offers consistently high success rates, in fact, above 95%. Most DNA testing companies will provide you with all the necessary to take you saliva sample using simple mouth swabs. A mouth swab looks very much like a cotton bud which you rub inside the mouths of the test participants to collect cheek cells. Using mouth swabs is absolutely painless and never poses any problems with fussy children. The whole point of swabs is that they are extremely easy to use.

Using a saliva sample will give an accurate DNA profile which will determine whether the tested father is the biological father of the child with a 99.99% inclusion rate. If the tested father is not the child’s real father, the exclusion rate will be no less than 100%.

Although a blood sample can be used for your paternity DNA test, it is unrecommended for the reasons above mentioned. If blood is the absolute last option for you, then of course from a testing perspective, it is a high success rate sample. A saliva sample is a safe and highly accurate way of concluding your test.