DNA testing during pregnancy

DNA testing during pregnancy

DNA testing during pregnancy

Until relatively recently, parents had to wait until the birth of their baby to find out the sex, the potential health concerns, and sometimes the paternity of their child. But with DNA testing becoming more accessible, and with analysis techniques continuing to advance, it is now possible to learn a significant amount of information about your unborn child through prenatal DNA testing – all before you reach your second trimester.

There are three types of DNA tests that you can take while pregnant: prenatal paternity tests, fetal sex tests (sometimes advertised as “baby gender tests”), and prenatal screening tests. With these tests now available to the public, you can achieve peace of mind about the father of your child, prepare for your son or daughter, and – if your child is likely to be born with a health condition – make sure they receive the best possible care before they enter the world.

Before taking a prenatal DNA test, it’s important to know exactly what information you’ll be provided with, and what you are or are not able to find out.

Prenatal Paternity Tests

It is now possible to confirm the biological father of an unborn child through a prenatal paternity test. Taking a paternity test while pregnant can help to reduce stress by removing uncertainty, and allow you to make care and visitation arrangements early on.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Tests

Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests (often shortened to “NIPT”) for paternity can be taken from 10 weeks in pregnancy, measured from the Last Menstrual Period (LMP). These DNA tests analyze the cell-free fetal DNA present in the mother’s blood from a few weeks into pregnancy, and compare it with DNA from a cheek swab sample given by the potential father in order to test for paternity.

Potential fathers can take the cheek swab samples themselves at home. However, the mother’s blood sample will have to be collected by a trained medical professional. This may incur an extra cost, and you may have to arrange an appointment with your medical practitioner yourself.

Things to bear in mind
When conducted properly, prenatal paternity tests are 99.99% accurate; the same level of accuracy as normal paternity tests. However, regulation of prenatal DNA tests is currently very limited, and so there are some companies that offer substandard testing with the promise of 99% accuracy.

Here are some things to watch out for when choosing a prenatal paternity testing company:

Cheap prices. Prenatal paternity tests are expensive. Really expensive. It costs a lot for the lab to conduct these tests, so expect to pay somewhere in the range of $1300, and beware of tests offering prices that are obviously undercutting their competitors’. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Hidden costs. Again, prenatal paternity tests are expensive. Companies will sometimes try to hide the full cost by charging different amounts at different stages of the testing process. For instance, you may have already paid to submit your samples, but then have to pay a lab fee in order to begin testing or receive your results. Some companies will deliver results over the phone, but then charge extra for written results.

If they allow you to take the blood sample yourself. The blood sample will need to be taken by a trained medical practitioner, and you will often have to arrange this yourself (which may incur an extra cost). The testing company you use may arrange a collection for you, though there will probably be another charge for this. Any company that allows you to take a blood sample yourself, particularly if they ask only for a blood sample on card (using a finger-pricking device), will not deliver accurate results.

If they allow you to take the test earlier than 10 weeks into pregnancy. The earliest you can take a prenatal paternity test is 10 weeks from your Last Menstrual Period (LMP). Tests taken earlier than 10 weeks will not yield accurate results.

If they let you submit “discreet” samples. Some companies will allow you to submit “discreet” samples of the potential father’s DNA, such as cigarette butts or tissues. This will greatly affect the accuracy of the results. It is also sometimes a red flag that a company is not very reputable. In some countries – including the UK – it is illegal to test a person’s DNA without their consent, and doing so could lead to legal action.

The quality of the company’s website. It may not seem important, but if a company’s website is obviously outdated, has a lot of bugs, is difficult to navigate, looks pixilated and grainy, has a lot of poorly formatted graphics, or isn’t HTTPS encrypted – then you ought to consider the possibility that they aren’t running a legitimate operation. Think of it this way: if they can’t afford a good website, then they probably can’t afford a good lab.

This may all seem like a lot of information to consider, but as prenatal paternity tests are still relatively new, many people don’t know what they ought to look out for, and don’t realize that the sale of these tests is largely unregulated. Make sure you are as informed as you can be before purchasing a prenatal paternity test.

Providers we recommend for NIPT paternity tests are:
DNA Diagnostics Center
Easy DNA
International Biosciences

You can find a list of more providers offering non-invasive prenatal paternity tests here.

Invasive Prenatal Paternity Tests

As well as the non-invasive method, there are two types of invasive prenatal tests you can take to test paternity. These are CVS (Chorionic Villi Sampling) and amniocentesis.

A CVS test involves a needle being inserted into the placenta, either through the stomach or the cervix, to extract a small number of cells from a section known as the chorionic villi. This is usually done under local anesthetic, and is always carried out by a trained medical professional. CVS tests can be carried out after 11 weeks into pregnancy.

The other method, amniocentesis, is a similar procedure, but amniotic fluid is collected instead of a sample from the chorionic villi. Amniocentesis can be carried out 15 weeks into pregnancy.

It is unlikely you will ever be recommended an invasive procedure unless it is for a health concern that has already been non-invasively tested for. However, some companies do offer this as a method of conducting a paternity test while pregnant.

Both of these invasive methods for testing paternity carry a small – though not insignificant – risk of miscarriage. Studies from the 1970s put the risk at about 1 in 100 for CVS, and 1 in 200 for amniocentesis. However, a more recent meta-analysis estimated the risk of miscarriage to now be closer to 1 in 500 for CVS, and 1 in 1000 for amniocentesis.

Some people may be tempted to opt for an invasive test due to the cheaper cost compared to non-invasive tests. However, these procedures must be carried out by trained medical professionals, and so the medical costs they incur could make them as expensive as non-invasive tests, or perhaps more so.

Prenatal Sex Testing / Baby Gender Testing

Unlike prenatal paternity tests, fetal sex tests can be conducted as early as seven weeks into pregnancy, measured from the Last Menstrual Period. These tests look for cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) belonging to the fetus, which can be detected in the mother’s blood. These tests are 95-98% accurate from 7-20 weeks, with their accuracy rising to 97-99% after 20 weeks. Usually, these tests are only offered after 10 weeks, possibly to improve the accuracy.

Often, you will not have your first ultrasound until 14 weeks into pregnancy, and so it is sometimes possible to determine your baby’s sex before your first ultrasound using a DNA test. These tests are not a replacement for an ultrasound test, which is important for monitoring your unborn baby’s health and development, and predicting your due date.

Like non-invasive prenatal paternity tests, a prenatal sex DNA test requires a blood draw taken by a trained medical professional. The blood sample taken will not be as large as for a paternity test, since less fetal DNA is needed to determine sex. Still, beware of companies that offer baby gender tests that require you to only prick your finger onto card, or draw the blood yourself. These will not yield accurate results.

Prenatal sex tests look only for the presence of a Y chromosome, which would indicate a boy. If no Y chromosome is detected, then it is highly probable the baby will be a girl. You will typically receive results within two weeks. As prenatal sex testing is far less complicated than prenatal paternity testing, it is also far less expensive, costing around $200.

For prenatal sex tests, we recommend International Biosciences. Other testing providers can be found here.

Limitations of fetal sex testing
It is important to note that if you have suffered a miscarriage in the same year as your current pregnancy, your results may be affected by residual cell-free DNA from your previous pregnancy. Prenatal blood tests are not able to distinguish between cell-free DNA from a current or previous pregnancy.

If you are carrying twins, then a DNA test on the mother’s blood will only be able to tell you if you are carrying at least one boy (if a Y chromosome is detected) or if you are carrying only girls (no Y chromosome). So, if a Y chromosome is detected, you may be carrying only boys, or a boy and a girl.

Ethical implications of fetal sex testing
There have been concerns that fetal sex tests may be used – and have already been used – to abort fetuses based on sex selection. In some countries, such as China and India, prenatal genetic tests for sex have been banned for fear that pregnancies will be terminated in favor of having male children. In the UK, it is illegal to abort a pregnancy on the basis of fetal sex.

Prenatal Screening DNA Tests

Most healthcare providers only screen for only Down’s syndrome (also called Trisomy 21), Edward’s syndrome (Trisomy 18), and Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13). This screening is performed using a blood test offered 10-14 weeks into pregnancy, and looks for the proteins and hormones associated with these conditions.

Studies have shown that testing the baby’s DNA can more accurately predict whether he or she will be born with one of these conditions. In fact, it has been estimated that the protein- and hormone-based blood test for Down’s syndrome predicts the condition with 85-90% certainty, which includes 2.5% “false positive” results. False positives are an important issue because a positive prediction often leads to the termination of the pregnancy. However, DNA tests using the mother’s blood are thought to be 98% accurate, and to result in fewer false positives.

You can take a DNA screening test from about 10 weeks into pregnancy. Private prenatal health screening usually costs around $1000. Currently, relatively few providers offer this type of prenatal testing, which may be part of the reason why the service is so expensive, as well as the laboratory costs involved in extracting fetal DNA.

Like prenatal paternity and sex tests, prenatal screening tests require blood to be drawn from the mother by a medical professional, which is another reason why the cost is relatively high. Still, you may have to cover the medical costs separately.

You’ll typically receive the results of your screening test in about two weeks.

Ethical implications of prenatal screening
Some people have voiced concerns that the NIPT screening tests may result in people with Down’s syndrome disappearing from society. In Denmark and Iceland, where screening is almost universal, the abortion rate of fetuses likely to have Down’s syndrome is close to 100%.

There are concerns that private clinics offering genetic screening may not provide prospective parents with enough information and counseling, meaning that parents may not understand the implications of genetic screening tests, or feel they do not have adequate support in moving forward with the information they are given. If you opt for a prenatal screening test with a private company, it is a good idea to look into what support they offer, and to learn as much as you can about the testing process, and the conditions being tested for.

Melanie

April 8, 2017

Can you find out the ethnicity or nationality before the baby is born?

Hi Melanie,

Thank you for your recent comment.

I'm afraid we don't know of any DNA tests that will determine the ethnicity or nationality of an unborn baby.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Bahar

August 10, 2017

Is it possibl e to dna test after 7 month of pregnancy

Hi Bahar,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Yes, that should be possible. We’d recommend visiting this page, which lists the providers that sell prenatal paternity tests: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Deepa

August 22, 2017

Hi Sir/Madam, I hope you doing good .One of my friend want to know baby gender test and she is in 9 week pregnant right now. But some of emergency condition she had traveled to different country.She has dropped her blood in blotting paper. Please let us know that you can do gender test with blotting paper which has her blood drops. Thanks, Deepa
Jamie

October 8, 2017

Can you do a sibling DNA test while pregnant?

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Yes, you should be able to take a sibling DNA test while pregnant. However, to find out for certain before purchasing a test, we’d suggest contacting some of the providers on this page: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/sibling-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Jenny

October 27, 2017

Will the result of the DNA test while prenant provide with the data of the matched or unmatched genetic as well or just the percentage of the paternity?

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for your recent comment.

The content and format of prenatal paternity reports will depend on the provider you use. We would recommend contacting some of the companies on this page to find out specifically what their report includes: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Kashiram

November 27, 2017

I would to check paternity test(DNA) In India which locations is DNA diagnostic centers available. is it possible in 8 weeks of pregnancy

Hi Kashiram,

Thank you for your recent comment.

We'd recommend contacting DNA Diagnostics Center directly, to enquire about where and how soon in the pregnancy they are able to carry out a prenatal paternity test. You can read more about their prenatal paternity test and request a call on this page: https://dnacenter.com/india/dna-paternity-test/prenatal-paternity-test/

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

nadia

January 4, 2018

Can a baby have a DNA of two people who are related?

Hi Nadia,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Although it is possible, any kind of paternity test carried out when the alleged fathers are related is more complicated than when they are not. We'd therefore recommend contacting some of the providers listed on this page and explaining your situation, to find out whether they are able to carry out testing for you: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Steely Michaela Byron

January 9, 2018

Hi are you able to do a DNA test at 7 weeks as that’s what I’ve been told to do by prenatal paternity inc. I’ve been told to take my bloods on the 12th of jan & my bfs DNA ? Is 7 weeks to early ?

Hi,

Thank you for your recent comment.

The latest technology available to prenatal paternity testing companies does allow this kind of testing to take place from around 7-10 weeks into pregnancy, so this is possible.

I hope that helps!

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Chris

January 15, 2018

Hi i think i know the answer but i will still ask can a paternity test be taken while the mother is still pregnant without a DNA sample from the father?

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your recent comment.

It wouldn't be possible to take any kind of paternity test without a sample from the alleged father, as this must be compared to the child's DNA to determine paternity.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

mpho m

January 24, 2018

how much does it cost to have paternity dna tests

Hi Mpho,

Thank you for your recent comment.

The cost of paternity testing varies, depending on the provider you use and whether you want it for peace of mind or legal reasons. We’d suggest visiting this page and filtering by price for the full range of prices of prenatal paternity tests: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing.

If you're looking for a standard paternity test, you can see the range of prices on this page: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/paternity-testing.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Satyajit Guha

March 7, 2018

I , Satyajit Guha want to know that my wife is 5mns pregnant. Can it possible for doing DNA test during her 5mns pregnancy ?

Hi Satyajit,

Thank you for your recent comment.

I’m afraid we don't know of any DNA tests that can tell you how many months pregnant someone is.

Sorry that we can't help further.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Erica

March 22, 2018

Can u use other samples for DNA test excluding the blood samples using the DNA test kit and what sample does the pregnant woman have to get using the kit

Hi Erica,

Thank you for your recent comment.

I'm afraid we don't know of any tests that accept alternatives to the samples mentioned in this article. We’d suggest contacting some of the prenatal DNA test providers listed on in our Baby Gender Testing or Prenatal Paternity Testing pages to see if they can offer alternative options:

https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/baby-gender-testing

https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Raul Jaquez III

April 3, 2018

If I understand correctly, Can DNA tests show which majority of the genes the baby has? Ex: does it have more Mom or more Dad genes?

Hi Raul,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Prenatal DNA tests are currently able to determine whether a man is the biological father of the unborn baby (paternity), the gender of the unborn baby or whether the baby is likely to be born with any genetic health conditions. We're not aware of any tests that determine how much DNA the baby has inherited from the mother or father, as we all inherit about 50% of our DNA from each of our parents.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Benjamin

April 13, 2018

Are you able to have an Paternity test done at 6 months pregnant?

Hi Benjamin,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Yes, a prenatal paternity test can be taken from around 10 weeks into pregnancy.

I hope that helps!

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Siti bibi

April 16, 2018

Can dna test(paternity) be done for mother of the twin at 16 weeks of pregnancy.....many thanks

Hi Siti,

Thank you for your recent comment.

We'd recommend getting in touch with some of the providers listed on this page and explaining your situation, to find out whether they are able to carry out testing for you: https://dnatestingchoice.com/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Mike

April 19, 2018

How accurate is DNA testing during pregnancy. My child was diagnosed with Klein linger syndrome. Would additional DNA testing from my unborn baby to confirm results.

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your recent comment.

You can find a list of prenatal screening providers here: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/search/category/health-testing

On the bar on the left, you can filter for "prenatal screening".

If this is something you're concerned about, we recommend you talk to a healthcare professional.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Taize

May 1, 2018

Can I do the test with 20 weeks pregnant?

Hi Taize,

Thank you for your recent comment.

Yes, you can take a paternity test from around ten weeks into pregnancy.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Christine

May 1, 2018

Can prenatal dna testing tell if there was ever more than one baby? (Example being a vanished twin, unconfirmed but possibly lost very early on 5/6 weeks into pregnancy) I have already had a NIPP test done, and it was conclusive (only using one possible fathers dna), but my ultrasound dating continues to be “off” and has me second guessing and wondering if I could have possibly been pregnant with twins early on, and if that could have thrown off the results? Apparently it’s possible to conceive one week apart and have different fathers? What if one just didn’t make it? Hope this makes sense, it’s hard to explain writing it out. I guess my main question is would they (the lab) be able to tell if they are looking at more than one fetus’s dna, and if so would they even continue the testing? Or would it come up as inconclusive? My results of the NIPP were 99.8% conclusive.

Hi Christine,

Thank you for your recent comment.

I understand that you are concerned that your child's paternity results might have been skewed by the DNA of a possible lost twin. I suggest you contact a lab directly, to find out if they can help you with this problem. You can find a list of prenatal paternity testing providers here: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Jen

May 26, 2018

Yes I went and had a dna test done when i was 10 weeks pregnant at a office in Raleigh they drew blood from my arm and the alleged father. The first time the dna place called me and said he want the father and then called me 5 day later and said he was the father I ask him why is there two different results he said they do 2 test while pregnant the first is not 99% right but the 2 was 99% right. I’m just so confused because I always thought u do one dna test with one result not to can u please help with some answers they guy said i have nothing to worry about he is the father I just want to make sure I’m not telling the wrong person they are the father

Hi Jen,

Thank you for your comment.

In our experience, when results are provided by laboratories, only one definitive result is given. This is the first time we've heard of two different results being given to a customer. First, we recommend you contact the lab in question and request a refund. You should explain that you have no confidence in the result as you’ve been given two different results, and that the lab has not delivered the service they promised: the lab has not delivered a result that you have confidence in.

We would also recommend you ask the lab for a copy of the detailed report showing the markers tested for all parties.

Depending on the lab’s response, you may wish to take a ‘peace of mind’ prenatal paternity test from another lab, so you can be sure of the correct result. You can email us at hseldon@dnatestingchoice.com and we will recommend a reliable and trusted lab to you. If you take a second test you’ll be able to compare the detailed reports (the reports showing the markers tested) from both labs and if the markers don’t match, you have a stronger case for asking for a refund from the first lab.

I hope this is all helpful.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Stephen Drew

June 1, 2018

Is there a test to determine if the fetus is African-American or not

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for your comment.

Currently we know of no providers offering heritage testing for unborn children. If you're unsure of the child's paternity, we have a list of prenatal paternity testing providers here: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Kathleen

June 7, 2018

I’m 7 weeks pregnant And need find out who the dad as soon as possible

Hi Kathleen,

Thank you for commenting.

In your case, I'd suggest a non-invasive prenatal paternity test. You can find a list of providers here (you can sort by rating or price): https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

It might be best to contact the lab yourself to ask how early you can take the test (normally the earliest time is between 7 and 9 weeks). They can also explain the procedure to you.

I hope this information is helpful!

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Roxana Medellin-Santiago

July 24, 2018

What are some risks and how much will it be

Hi Roxana,

Thank you for commenting!

If you opt for an invasive prenatal test (either CVS or amniocentesis) there is a small risk of miscarriage. However, if you take a non-invasive test (testing the mother's blood) then there is no risk of miscarriage.

Invasive tests are cheaper, but come with a small degree of risk, and may require local anesthetic. These tests are generally $300-600.

Non-invasive tests have no risks attached, but are more expensive, costing around $900-1600. You can find a list of prenatal paternity providers here: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Sharon

July 26, 2018

Is there a DNA test that can be done to determine the father of a unborn fetus before the baby is born. Where would one get this done if they are in the Air Force, the mother of the fetus as well. She is 17 weeks. She knows that it is a boy already, this test was done.

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for your recent comment.

There are providers offering prenatal paternity testing. We’d suggest you visit this page, where you can view reviews and prices for different providers: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Crai

August 14, 2018

Is it possible to do prenatal testing for a 3-4mos pregnant? Is it possible to use only the hair of the father not blood sample? Thank you!

Hi Crai,

Thank you for commenting!

You can generally do a prenatal paternity test from the 8th week of pregnancy, and so 3-4 months is fine. These tests are 99.99% accurate, and a non-invasive test is much safer than CVS or amniocentesis (which can also involve medical costs).

For the father's DNA, companies generally ask for a cheek swab sample. Some labs may allow you to send in nail clippings, however other means of DNA collection (e.g. hair, tissues, etc.) will yield a far less accurate result.

For a non-invasive prenatal paternity test, the mother's blood will need to be collected by a trained professional. To ensure you get the test from a reputable company, please read the reviews listed here: https://dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/prenatal-paternity-testing

Kind regards,

Harriet

Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Sally

November 11, 2018

Hi, I'm thirteen weeks pregnant with twins. I'd like to know if it's possible to carry out a non-invasive paternity test. would it be accurate. I'm not doing this to know the sex or anything. Just for paternity. thank you. ?

Hi Sally,

Thank you for commenting.

For prenatal paternity testing, I recommend you choose an accredited, internationally respected company such as Easy DNA). Prenatal paternity testing is much more difficult than ordinary paternity tests, since non-invasive tests rely on extracting fetal DNA from the mother's blood, which there is usually very little of. This is why prenatal tests are much more expensive, and also why you have to be careful when choosing a provider, and not motivated by price. If you want accurate results, expect to pay upward of $1000.

I recommend you read prenatal paternity testing reviews before coming to a decision. It is also a good idea to get a paternity test from another (also reliable) company for each baby once they are born in order to confirm paternity.

Another option is "invasive" prenatal paternity tests, either CVS or amniocentesis. These can confirm paternity with 99.9% accuracy, but carry a small risk of miscarriage, and you will often have to pay medical fees on top of the price quoted.

I hope this information is helpful to you!

Kind regards,
Harriet Seldon | Services Team

Daniel

March 5, 2019

Can i able to make a dna test while she is pregant

Kay

March 7, 2019

Can you test prenatal paternity between siblings if both possible fathers cannot be located?

Arlene

April 6, 2019

Can a DNA screening determine if the unborn child has cystic fibrosis?

SHELBY

April 18, 2019

I WAS WONDERING THE COST FOR A SIBLING DNA TEST. IM ABOUT 7 WEEKS PREGNANT AND NOT SURE WHO THE FATHER IS BUT I DO HAVE 2 KIDS WITH WHOM I THINK THE BABY BELONGS TO.IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP? THANK YOU

Nat

May 5, 2019

Hello,
I’m 12 weeks pregnant and just found out it’s a boy. I had a miscarriage in December and that pregnancy was confirmed a Boy. Could the gender of that pregnancy affect the results of the current pregnancy?

Zahid

May 22, 2019

Hi Dear,

Is this possible for us to do the DNA test for a 7 to 8 weeks pregnant woman. ?

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