You are pregnant and about to embark on a wonderful, challenging and rewarding experience as a parent. You may be frightened when you think about bringing a new person into this world. Don’t worry, you’ll be great.

Now, before you go any further with your plans, you have to deal with daddy issues. You need to determine who the father is, without a shadow of a doubt No worries. There are steps you can take if you think he is the father of your child.

The first step is to create an open line of communication. If he is the father of your child, you will, if that’s what you both want, be working closely with this man over the next 18 or so years. Let the father know that you are pregnant and move on to your next step of establishing paternity.

It is important to do this. It not only benefits your child because they will grow up knowing who they are, but it is important for many other reasons:

Medical history. As your child gets older, there may be some things in his/her medical history that are important. There could also be some medical history important in infant health issues. 

Health insurance benefits. You child will need preventative health care throughout their lives, especially during their early years when vaccinations and regular doctor’s visits are critical. 

Financial benefit. It goes without saying that your child is going to require a lot of things as he/she grows. The financial responsibility should not fall to just one person. 

These are just a few of the benefits of establishing paternity. Now, how do you establish paternity of your unborn child? 

Written acknowledgement. The easiest way to establish paternity is have a legal document drawn up and signed by both parents acknowledging biological parenthood on both sides. This goes back to having a good, healthy and open line of communication.

Counseling. If communication with your child’s alleged father is not as strong as you would like for it to be, genetic testing may be the next step to determining paternity. It is sometimes a good idea to have a counselling session prior to taking the test. It will clear any questions that either parent may have about the risks of genetic testing, how genetic testing is performed, and the accuracy of genetic testing. 

Genetic testing. Oral Genetic testing is 99.9% accurate. It is a very simple and non-invasive test. It will not cause harm to anyone, including the child. A cell sample is taken from you, the possible father and the child. It is usually taken by swabbing the inside cheek of each person to be tested. This captures the cells needed for testing. Once the paternity DNA test is complete the question of paternity is answered.

Results. A second counselling session may be needed during the reveal of the results. Both adults will have to make some decisions based upon what transpires. Questions can be answered by a counselor. The counselor may also be able to provide resources for you and your child’s father that will help you transition smoothly into your next phase in life as parents to your child, assuming fatherhood has been established. 

Determining paternity is an important step in the overall well-being of your child (PDF). It will help your child live a mentally, physically and psychologically healthier life. Determine your child’s paternity quickly for the sake of all concerned.