Paternity Testing: How Much Should I Expect to Pay?

A paternity test is a technique of establishing the identity of a child’s father by cross-matching the genetic DNA patterns of the child and the parents. These paternity tests are recognized by the legal system in all countries as concrete evidence, especially in proceedings for a child support case. The immigration officials in countries such as Canada, the USA, Australia and others also insist on voluntary DNA parentage test reports, where the primary document such as the birth certificate of the child is not available to prove the biological relationship. Hence, all the above considerations ensure that the accuracy as well as reliability of a paternity test is absolute.

Cost of a paternity test

The cost of a paternity test depends on the state where the test is conducted and the situations under which the test is undertaken. The general price range for a paternity test in Canada starts from CAD300 and extends up to CAD600 depending on the number of alleged fathers and the number of children being tested. Some companies enter contracts with laboratories to conduct bulk genetic testing and charge very low rates as CAD199 for a simple one male-one child test.

Legal tests might cost higher and range between CAD500 to CAD700 due to the existence of a strict chain of custody regulations and related legal paperwork.

How accurate is paternity testing?

Samples of DNA are collected from the male who is possibly the father of the child and the child. There are various methods to establish the match of the DNA samples to confirm parentage. Most commonly performed tests to establish paternity either involve samples from inner cheeks or blood samples of the child and parent. The accuracy of a paternity test depends on how well the samples are matched with each other. Every paternity test has two possible outcomes: exclusion paternity tests and inclusion paternity tests.

The exclusion paternity is generally considered 100% accurate. This examination aims to ascertain whether or not a male is the father of a baby based on the comparison of his DNA pattern and DNA composition of the child. Scientifically, half of the chromosomes of a child’s DNA match with that of its father. Hence, this test aims to match both the DNAs and excludes a father who does not have any matching pairs with the chromosomes of the baby. If a man’s DNA is excluded in the test, then there is no chance that he could be the father of the child.

In cases where the tested man is the real dad, a result will show a probability percentage of paternity of 99.99%.


The paternity test results are determined on the basis of the number of loci/DNA match points taken from the DNA of those undergoing the test. Highly advanced DNA testing methods such as PCR are used to amplify and replicate DNA. The best test outcomes are those using 16 loci and almost all legal paternity tests ensure availability of 16 loci for testing the genetic lineage. The results are generally provided within 3-5 working days after receipt of samples by the laboratories. It is however pertinent that one should only work through accredited testing agencies to ensure the reliability and accuracy of a paternity test results.