Paternity tests and family relationship DNA analyses conducted by the Center for Human Genetics und Laboratory Diagnostics, conform as a matter of course to the current legal requirements in Germany.
The adoption of the Gene Diagnostics Law in Spring 2009 has clearly established, among other things, that the consent of all affected parties is required before a paternity test can be performed. As a result, so-called “secret” paternity tests are forbidden.
In reality, this means the following: A man who wants to clarify the paternity of an underage child must give his informed consent, as must anyone else with custody of the child (usually the mother). Furthermore, if the child is old enough to understand the importance of a paternity test, he or she must be informed of the planned analysis and may not reject its execution.
Further information regarding the legal situation can be found under legal background.
A paternity test, or other family relationship DNA analysis, can determine the degree of relationship between two or more people. Frequent requests are:
Trio case: analysis of three people, both parents and child; the analysis can clarify with very high certainty, for example whether or not the potential father (putative father) is the biological father
Deficiency case: analysis of two people, one parent and child; the analysis can clarify family relationships with a high degree of certainty
The significance of family relationship DNA analysis depends fundamentally on the number of people examined.
According to the guidelines of the Genetic Diagnostics Commission (GEKO), the child’s mother can only be excluded from the analysis when she is unavailable for examination.
The right of the mother to be involved is waived in the following instances:
- The mother is dead
- The child is of age
- The mother does not have custody of the child and they do not live together
- The mother is not the biological mother of the child
- The mother is unable to consent as defined by Section 14 of the German Gene Diagnostics Act (Gendiagnostikgesetz – GenDG)
Should it be decided not to include the child's mother, the reason for the waiver must be documented at the time of sampling. If no maternal material is available for a paternity test, a conclusion is still possible. However, a greater experimental effort is then necessary.