Can you do DNA testing on a deceased father? The answer is “yes” but it is definitely worth discussing some other options before we discuss actually testing the deceased man. DNApaternity testing is highly accurate and this is generally irrelevant to whether the samples have been taken from an alleged father who is alive or dead.

 Paternity Testing: Father Deceased

If the father is deceased and buried getting hold of DNA samples can be difficult. In such an instance the first option would be to test the father’s relatives to establish paternity, for example, an uncle or an aunt with a nephew or niece. If I wish to determine whether an alleged man is really my biological father but he is dead and buried, I can do a relationship DNA test with my father’s brother, my uncle. I will definitely have genes in common with my uncle which they would have inherited form my paternal grandparents. In fact, if both grandparents are available then you can also do a grandparentage DNA test. If you share enough common markers with your paternal grandparents or uncle/aunt, this means that the deceased alleged father is really your biological father.

If both grandparents are available for testing then paternity can be determined more accurately; in fact, in such an instance, it is possible to recreate the DNA profile of the missing parent. If only one grandparent is available, then an aunt/uncle test (avuncular test) is the better choice.

 Paternity DNA testing: Taking samples from the corpse

If the father has not been buried, then you can take certain specific samples from the corpse – click here to view a list of viable samples..

  • Hair samples to do a hair DNA test
  • Finger nail clipping
  • Taking samples that may have belonged to the alleged dead father: a tooth brush, hair on a hair brush, stained  clothing and a range of other samples may be viable.

 If the alleged father has been buried:

First and foremost, you will need to get an exhumation and this can be very tedious as you need to go to court. If you cannot prove any relationship with the alleged father’s family or that your might have been fathered by the deceased man, it may even be impossible.

If the corpse can be exhumed, then a forensic pathologist can either take femur or humerus bone or teeth. In this case the costs can be very high.

DNA testing on a deceased father is thus possible to determine paternity. The best option is always to directly carry out a paternity DNA test with the father’s DNA sample.