Baby daddy before baby?
February 4, 2008 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to discover the father of a child when it has been conceived, but not born?

If so, at what stage in the pregnancy, and is this an expensive or difficult process?
posted by anonymous to Science & Nature (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, there are some kinds of prenatal paternity testing. A google search will probably get you some more results. Good Luck
posted by pearlybob at 8:10 PM on February 4, 2008

According to this page from the American Pregnancy Association, prenatal paternity testing can be done either via amniocentesis or a procedure known as chorionic villus sampling. The former procedure can be done after the 14th week of pregnancy; the latter after the 10th week.

I am not a doctor, and it's possible that there are complicating factors that this site isn't making clear. At the very least, though, it should give you something to Google on until more qualified people show up.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:17 PM on February 4, 2008

Amniocentesis carries a significant risk of damage to the baby. If I were the mom, I would make you wait until after birth for baby blood.
posted by caddis at 8:47 PM on February 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

What caddis said. Amnio carries with it a risk of miscarriage. Paternity testing, which can be done after birth, is a poor reason to opt for this elective procedure.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:08 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Risks of amniocentesis. Calling it 'significant risk' sounds rather alarmist, given the proportion of pregnancies that miscarry for other/unknown reasons. Chorionic villus sampling appears to be slightly riskier (0.4% give or take 0.1%). Still, if it's purely elective I suspect the vast majority of obstetricians would advise you to wait. IANAD.
posted by eritain at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2008

If I were the mom, I would make you wait until after birth for baby blood.

Couldn't anon be the mother-to-be? If so, anon, ask you care provider. They've dealt with this before, they're professionals. Just make sure you see one. Should you think you need it, they likely have someone who can help you sign up for Medicaid or other benefits if you're uninsured. (States are typically lenient on qualifying pregnant women due to the high costs associated with forgoing prenatal consultations. Though you'll probably be out of pocket for the paternity test itself).
posted by the christopher hundreds at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2008

You know, if the Baby Gender Mentor stuff is robust enough (their techniques are currently unknown, proprietary), it might be possible in the very-near future to do a paternity test simply by taking a sample of the mother's blood (as early as 5 weeks into the pregnancy).
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:35 AM on February 5, 2008

cvw or chorionic villus sampling is also done to test for a number of genetic defects, including trisomy-21. A better name for it would be placental biopsy, because that's what it is. Since the placenta is made of baby (or vice versa), it can be used for genetic screening.
posted by plinth at 3:28 AM on February 5, 2008

I agree with the wait until after birth crowd. The procedures needed to establish paternity now are too risky, that's why they're reserved for special situations and not done routinely.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 4:37 AM on February 5, 2008

Oh, bull. Whether I agree with it or not (I don't), CVS and amnio are practically routine nowadays. I think they contribute to unnecessary worry, et cetera, but tons of pregnancies use amnio to diagnose if anything might be wrong with the baby, and a smaller set use CVS as well to find if there is a higher chance of defects (and not even to find out what those defects may be!).

So I say, go for it. People get amnio done all the time for stupider reasons than this.
posted by InnocentBystander at 7:19 AM on February 5, 2008

Well, we nearly lost a baby after an amnio and my wife was on total bed rest for three months with a syringe strapped to her leg administering regular injections of medicine to delay labor. I am not sure why we even did it, the main reason being her age at the time, as even if the baby had birth defects we probably could not have found it within ourselves to terminate the pregnancy, unless they were really severe defects. So, it was stupid, all we did was increase the chance of problems.

These tests are not routine. The risk of the test versus the risk of birth defects profile changes as the mother's age increases and many older women are having babies so, yes many of these tests are performed but risks are being balanced in the decision as to whether to perform them. Taking a risk with the baby's life merely to argue paternity seems foolish, selfish even.
posted by caddis at 8:23 AM on February 5, 2008

Caddis: you're arguing against statistics with an anecdote. The truth is that amniocentesis, when performed in the second trimester, carries no significant risk of miscarriage.
posted by Justinian at 11:51 AM on February 5, 2008

Justinian- take it to MeTa
posted by caddis at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2008

No, you post bad info in the thread and the response must also be in the thread or the bad info goes unanswered. The OP may not be reading the MeTa thread.
posted by Justinian at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Justinian, some birth defects are less risky than the chance of miscarriage with amnio, and so doctors recommend against amnio to detect the birth defect because the risk outweighs the possible benefit (for example, after an AFP test, which can give a false positive). There are a lot of factors to be weighed; this is not an either/or situation. Only anonymous knows all the circumstance of the pregnancy and whether an amnio is an option for their particular situation. To many Moms, ANY risk is significant.
posted by misha at 2:51 PM on February 5, 2008

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