Yes, grandparents can be tested to establish paternity. For some families, proving paternity with a DNA test can be a challenge, particularly if the alleged father is not available for testing or is unwilling to provide a DNA sample. If the alleged father is unavailable, it is possible to undertake a grandparentage test if you use a lab that has expertise with this type of testing.
A grandparentage test reveals if the child being tested is related to the paternal grandparents, and in doing so can prove the identity of the child’s father. This test can also be used in immigration cases by determining the paternal or maternal grandparents when documentation is not available.
Can Grandparents Initiate a Paternity Test?
Often grandparents wish to initiate the test because they have doubts about the paternity of a grandchild and want to establish the facts before raising the issue. Due to consent laws in the UK, only a person with parental responsibility for a child can give consent to a child under the age of 16. Also, the test can be undertaken if court orders.
It is usually the child’s mother who initiates the test and most potential grandparents will participate. The impact on the extended family is often underplayed, but DNA results can significantly affect grandparents and siblings— not just the parents. Being a grandparent requires emotional involvement and sometimes financial support, so it really is important that the relationship is clarified as early as possible. In addition to peace of mind, there may also be legal reasons for needing to clarify the existence of a biological relationship.
Reasons for a Grandparentage Test
There are several reasons that people decide to confirm the paternity of a child by taking a grandparentage test.
- Immigration DNA application where the father is absent
- Social services looking to place a child with extended family
- Death of a father not on the birth certificate, for inheritance and insurance claims
- Peace of mind
Who Participates in a Grandparentage Test?
- The child
- One or both paternal grandparents
- The mother of the child whenever possible
Paternity tests are quite straightforward, but using grandparents makes the testing a little more complicated. Ideally, the child, the child’s mother, and both paternal grandparents will be tested. This enables the geneticists to more accurately recreate the alleged father’s DNA profile. In this case, the result will have the same accuracy as a paternity test. We can run the test with one grandparent, but the test may not be as conclusive as it would be if we used samples from both.
Grandchildren are one of life’s greatest blessings so it is sensible to establish the relationship as soon as possible—before becoming too emotionally involved with a child. For some women, having the support of a possible father’s parents when he is absent or unwilling to participate in a test can save years of heartache for not only the child but everyone in the family.