A maternity test is a DNA test falling under the broader umbrella “parental testing”. The demand for DNA maternity testing is not as high as the demand for other DNA tests such as the paternity test . We could say in fact, that this test is seldom used as there are very rarely any issues centering on maternity- a mother is sure who her children are. Of course, there may be instances when this test is used as it will accurately show the DNA profile of the mother and that of her child and the genes the child has inherited from his or her biological mother.

When in a DNA maternity test used?

Maternity testing is most commonly used in immigration DNA tests in New Zealand. Normally, a proof of relationship is required if a child wishes to legally join their mother in a non-native country or vice versa. For example, a mother living in Ethiopia may wish to join her daughter who is legally residing in New Zealand. Maternal DNA tests used for immigration are done following very strict DNA sample collection procedures. Normally, the samples would be collected by a third party and carried out at the nearest embassy.

Important note: a maternal lineage test is not a maternity DNA test. Maternity testing uses nuclear DNA and seeks to establish the genetic markers shared between mother and child. A maternal lineage test is a type of genealogy DNA test and cannot establish maternity and moreover, does not use nuclear DNA but mitochondrial DNA.

Adopted children and their biological mother may be reunited thanks to a DNA maternity test and the test has on rare occasions been used to solve hospital mix-ups where a baby was accidentally given to the wrong mother.

How are DNA samples collected for a maternity test?

A maternity DNA test can be carried out with or without the father’s DNA samples; nevertheless, having the father’s samples can help provide a more accurate result and exclude his share in the genetic inheritance of the child thereby leaving the genes that have solely been inherited from the mother for comparison.

Samples for a maternity test are normally collected with a simple oral swab.

Oral swabs can be supplied by most DNA testing companies in a home testing kit. Once you have collected DNA samples with the swabs, you just send them back for laboratory analysis. A swab looks very much like a cotton bud but with a single cotton ended part. Rubbing a swab within the mouth effectively collects cheek cells and these can be used to extract DNA and conclude the test.

For a maternity test with the father’s samples, the probability inclusion for maternity will be 99.99% or higher and the exclusion will be of 100%. Maternity testing can be done for both legal reasons and for peace of mind.

DNA maternity testing is one of the less required DNA tests however, it does find extensive use in cases of immigration.