Get a DNA test, and you will be using a technology which is still in its infancy. Although DNA testing has been commercially available for over two decades now, the techniques used are still evolving. Even senior scientists are unsure as to where the science will head in the coming years, as there is so much controversy surrounding some recent developments. The use of techniques which magnify greatly very small samples of DNA has been severely criticized in some quarters, leaving doubt as to legal verdicts which have been given based on these results.
The use of DNA test results in criminal cases is now firmly established, although the actual methods used are constantly changing. Many criminals have been identified by DNA which has been left at a crime scene, although DNA evidence is rarely enough to gain a conviction on its own. Indeed, over-reliance on DNA is a mistake the law enforcement authorities are learning not to make. DNA testing is also being used to try to discover the truth concerning many cases from the archives, some going back nearly a century.
DNA testing has also become mainstream in other areas of the law, including paternity cases, disputes over wills and legacies, and custody battles. Where someone wants to prove beyond doubt that they are the father of their child, the test is usually easy to complete. Both the believed father and the child will be present, so the samples can be taken in one room under controlled conditions. There will be no possibility of cross-contamination so long as the correct testing procedures are adhered to.
In a paternity case which is hotly disputed, or where the alleged father is not willing to contribute financially to the upbringing of a child, there is often a temptation to undergo a DNA test on the unborn fetus. This has been successfully accomplished a great many times, but it is well to be aware that there are risks involved. These risks increase dramatically as the fetus ages. If you can carry out a test before week 14 of a pregnancy, you can use a safer technique which extracts DNA from nearby tissue and not from the fetus.
To get a DNA test after week 14, you will need to engage in a far more dangerous procedure which carries considerable risk, including the risk of miscarriage. At 24 weeks, the fetus will be so sufficiently developed that physicians will not consider carrying out the test. You will then need to wait until the birth of the child to carry out the test far more safely. The reason for an early test is often so that financial arrangements for the maintenance of the child can be put in place, but there are times when safety reasons mean you need to delay when you get a DNA test.