On sometimes occasions, women face the uncertainty of not knowing who the father of their child is, a situation that is not limited to novels alone. Some women live with this doubt throughout their pregnancy, while others need to resolve it immediately. The question of paternity, of how to know who the father is, arises when a woman has had sexual relations with more than one man in the same month and becomes pregnant.
To try to determine the date of conception, some women use the date of their last menstruation, assuming that ovulation occurs approximately 14 days after the first day of menstruation. However, this estimation is not accurate as menstrual cycles can vary, and ovulation can occur at different times. Therefore, if a woman had sexual relations with one man on day 10 and another on day 17, it is not possible to confidently state who the father is.
Another option to get an approximation of the date of conception is to undergo an ultrasound in the early weeks of gestation. At this early stage, all embryos grow at a similar rate, which allows estimating gestational age through embryo measurements. However, this ultrasound cannot accurately determine the exact day of conception or the biological father.
Surprisingly, it is estimated that between 10% and 15% of people are not biological children of the father who gave them their surname, demonstrating the relevance of the topic.
When there are doubts about paternity, the only way to obtain a definitive answer is through a DNA test. These tests can be done during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
In the case of prenatal tests, a procedure called Prenatal Paternity can be used, which is performed through a puncture in the mother’s abdomen. This procedure carries minimal risk and can be done between weeks 11 and 13 of gestation or from week 15 onwards through an amniotic fluid puncture. For the study, a blood sample from the mother and a blood or saliva sample from the alleged father are taken. By comparing the baby’s genetic information with that of the mother and the alleged father, a result with a probability greater than 99.99% of determining paternity is obtained.
Another option is fetal DNA analysis in maternal blood, which is performed from week 10 of gestation. Although this technique is still under development and not widely performed, it allows for the evaluation of the presence of certain genetic diseases, such as Down Syndrome. In the future, it is expected that these non-invasive paternity tests, using blood samples from the mother and alleged father, will be used to determine paternity without the need for abdominal punctures.
After birth, some women decide to undergo a DNA test to determine paternity once the baby is born. In this case, a saliva sample from the baby and a blood or saliva sample from the alleged father are required, which are compared to each other. The results of these tests are usually available within 7 to 10 days after they are performed. Sometimes, these tests are not conducted immediately after birth, as some women prefer to live with the uncertainty for years and then decide to take the test to confirm paternity.
In summary, when there is doubt about the father of the child, the only way to obtain a definitive answer is through a DNA test. These tests can be done during pregnancy or after birth, and offer a high degree of certainty in determining paternity.
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