Navigating an unintended pregnancy can be complicated, especially when you’re not sure who the father is. Once you’ve made it through paternity testing, you two may have different opinions about this monumental decision. 


It can all feel very overwhelming, but you aren’t in this alone! Pregnancy Help NYC is here to help. Today, we’re exploring paternity testing, the biological father’s legal rights, and more! 

I Don’t Know Who the Baby’s Father is. What Do I Do? 

If you’re not sure who the baby’s father is, you may want to reach out to the potential candidate(s) about having paternity tests done. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our blog for some tips on how to tell a one-night stand that you’re pregnant

Do I Have to Tell the Father that I’m Pregnant? 

Usually, it’s up to the mother to tell the biological father that the child exists. You’re under no legal obligation to tell him, but you also can’t stop him from being involved in the child’s life after it’s been born, unless the court intervenes. 

Do Ultrasounds Determine Paternity?

Ultrasounds can’t determine who the father of the baby is. However, they can give you an idea of when you conceived. This can help you narrow down who the potential father is, based on your sexual encounter(s) around that time. The only way to determine who the father is is through a paternity test. 

Can You Get a Paternity Test While Pregnant? How Do Paternity Tests Work?

Yes! While pregnant, you can receive a non-invasive prenatal paternity test (NIPP), chorionic villus sampling (CVS), or amniocentesis[1]


During a non-invasive prenatal paternity test (NIPP), the potential father provides a DNA sample through a cheek swab and you provide a blood sample, which contains fetal DNA. A lab specialist then compares the fetal DNA with the potential father’s cheek cell sample. 


During a chorionic villus sampling (CVS), a doctor takes a small tissue sample from the placenta, through the mother’s abdomen or cervix and a DNA sample from the potential father. This test is usually performed between 10 to 13 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. Be aware this procedure does carry a slight risk of miscarriage


During amniocentesis, a doctor inserts a needle into the mother’s abdomen to draw out some amniotic fluid and the potential father provides a DNA sample. A lab specialist then compares the two samples. This test can be done between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy and also carries a slight risk of miscarriage.

What Legal Rights Does the Biological Father Have?

Once the biological father has been determined, he can register with the New York State Putative Father Registry, which is a confidential record of fathers of children born out of wedlock[2]


Upon his approval, the biological father has the right to receive legal notice of all court proceedings, which include adoption, foster care, guardianship, or custody of the child. This also gives the child the right to inherit assets from the biological father if he passes away.

We Want Different Things. Can He Tell Me What to Do?

No. The biological father can’t force you to make a certain choice about your unplanned pregnancy. The final decision is yours alone! 


However, if he’s made threats or acted on them, it’s important to cut ties with him as quickly as possible. No one deserves to be abused—period. If you’re experiencing abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help! Pregnancy Help NYC offers ongoing support from the moment you walk through our doors. We can help you escape the mistreatment you’re facing and connect you with social service organizations, so you can get the care you deserve.

Unplanned Pregnancy Help in New York, NY 

Pregnancy may not have been a part of your plan, but it doesn’t have to derail your future. Pregnancy Help NYC is here to support you, from your first pregnancy test to your final decision. Give us a call at (212) 243-7119 or schedule your appointment online today! 


  1. DNA Paternity Test: Definition & Types. Cleveland Clinic. (2020, October 21). Retrieved from  
  2. What Unwed Fathers Need To Know. New York State Office of Children and Family Services. (2018, July). Retrieved from 
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