The Second Department determined that petitioner must produce reliable medical evidence that a 303-day gestation period (the time between sexual intercourse and birth) is scientifically possible before proceeding with a paternity action. The court noted that an acknowledgment of paternity by another did not preclude petitioner from bringing his paternity action:
Appellate courts have held that the generally accepted period of gestation is between 38 and 40 weeks… . However, pregnancy periods can exceed that timeframe … . Indeed, in 1992, the Appellate Division, [3rd] Department, held that a period of gestation measured from the last menstrual period prior to the child’s birth can be between 265 and 299 days … . In the beginning of the last century, this Court, citing Code Napoleon, found that the period between sexual intercourse and birth could be up to 300 days … . Here, the petitioner alleges that 303 days, or 43 weeks and 2 days, elapsed between the last date of sexual intercourse with the mother and the birth of the child.
Any material deviation from the generally accepted average period of gestation must be explained with a reliable medical opinion … . Although no such evidence was presented at the hearing, under the circumstances of this case, a new hearing should be conducted to afford the petitioner an opportunity to present such evidence. Since the petitioner has the burden of proof, he must present reliable medical evidence to demonstrate that the 303-day gestational period alleged here is scientifically possible
A prior acknowledgment of paternity made in accordance with Family Court Act § 516-a does not serve as an insuperable bar to a claim of paternity by one who is a stranger to the acknowledgment … . * * * Therefore, upon remittal, if the petitioner satisfies his burden of demonstrating at the hearing, with reliable medical evidence, that a 303-day gestational period is scientifically possible, then the Family Court must determine whether to direct a DNA or genetic marker test in the child’s best interest.