FAQs Backup

If you are attempting do perform a DNA, you may have questions regarding how a DNA test is performed, the associated cost of a DNA tests, or perhaps how to perform a DNA test with a deceased or pregnant person?

The information below should be a valuable resource to help answer those DNA testing questions and many more.


Explain more about how the tests work

How does a DNA parentage test work?

A child inherits DNA from the mother’s egg (maternal chromosomes) and the father’s sperm (paternal chromosomes). Each parent contributes half of the child’s DNA. The child (and every person) has pairs of chromosomes, half coming from the mother and half from the father. For each location (“locus”, plural “loci”) in a chromosome pair there is a specific DNA sequence in each chromosome. A DNA parentage test works by identifying the specific DNA sequences for multiple loci in the mother, child, and father. If the mother and father are the parents of the child, the two DNA sequences at each locus in the child’s chromosomes must have been inherited from each parent. By determining these DNA sequences, paternity or other familial relationships can be established. For more information, see How To Interpret A Parentage Test Report.

Where are the tests performed?

You can order a Home Paternity Test Kit to be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home, or if you prefer, you can have a legal test done with professional collection at a collection facility at one of our thousands of DNA collection centers or by having a collection kit shipped to your own doctor’s office.

What standards are used to ensure tests are performed correctly?

We follow the standards set forth by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for performing ALL of our DNA paternity tests. Because we use a high number of genetic markers, results usually are completely definitive. In the case of any ambiguities (perhaps caused by a poor sample), tests are repeated. We offer an Accuracy Guarantee. We employ specific testing procedures to protect against the accidental switching of samples and to maintain the complete confidentiality of our customers.

What is the difference between an AABB accredited test and an unaccredited test?

Actually, we have devoted a whole page to address this issue. Please see About Accredited Tests for an explanation of accredited vs. unaccredited tests.

Is the legally-binding test different from the informational test?

The DNA tests are exactly the same. The difference is that legally-binding tests require a witness, proof of identity, and special chain of custody procedures. The basic Home Test Kit therefore is not legally binding. It is intended as a discrete and private way whereby families can resolve relationship questions without involving outside parties. We also offers a Court-Admissible Home Paternity Test Kit that requires a disinterested witness to oversee sample collection and verify identities and chain of custody.

What is a buccal swab and is it as accurate as blood?

A buccal swab is soft and resembles a large Q-Tip. It is used to collect a sample of cheek cells by simply rubbing the inside of the cheeks. It is as accurate as blood, as the DNA is the same. A person should, however, abstain from smoking, drinking coffee or tea for a few hours before taking a sample, and smokers should rinse and brush their cheeks with a toothbrush before swabbing. We ask that you allow the samples to dry completely to avoid contaminating the DNA material.

Can a paternity test be performed without the mother?

Yes, although the paternity test results cannot be as conclusive as including the mother, they are still sufficient to be acceptable in a court of law. We offer an Accuracy Guarantee for a paternity test with the mother.

Why is it better to include a sample from the mother?

In a matter as important as DNA testing, especially court-admissible cases, it is never good to leave room for doubt. Ideally, if you are having a test other than a paternity or maternity test performed, the known parent(s) should be tested. A child receives half of their DNA from their mother, and the other half from their father. Because the half of the DNA that the child receives from the mother will match the mother’s DNA exactly, the remaining unmatched DNA will match that of the biological father. Without the ability to remove the mother’s DNA from the equation, the possibility increases greatly that results will not be conclusive, which may require additional testing, thus extending the time and cost needed to achieve conclusive result. In general, if the mother is available for testing she should be included. In any event, the test can still be performed without the inclusion of the mother if she is not available.

What if I want to test more than one child or alleged parent?

Additional family members can be included in the tests for a small additional fee.

How old does a child need to be?

A newborn infant can be tested. When an infant is 2 weeks or younger, the test should be done in blood to avoid collecting the mother’s placenta that is still present in the child’s mouth until the child is 2 weeks. The blood test is usually done through a pin-prick to the child’s heel, thus causing little or no pain to the infant. A buccal swab can be done at any age over 2 weeks. The swab is simply rubbed between the cheek and gum, and is a painless process.

How accurate is the DNA paternity test?

DNA testing is the most accurate method available for determining paternity. Its power lies in the ability to trace the pattern of inheritance for separate regions of the genetic material (chromosomes). From this information a probability of paternity can be calculated. This number can reach 99.99999% in some cases. The percentage of random men of the same race that can be excluded as the biological father is also computed for every case.

What is your accuracy guarantee?

Click here to see our accuracy guarantee. We guarantee paternity testing results with the inclusion of the mother because of the accuracy of the test (see previous question) and the standards we adhere to in the performance of the tests. First, we are truly accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) as a DNA parentage testing laboratory. Second, we participate in proficiency testing conducted by the College of American Pathologists three times per year. Third, our Ph.D. director and director designee oversee the operation and personally review and sign all test reports. You can be assured that our methods and practices adhere to the strictest standards in the nation. Make sure you check before you buy!

How long does it take to get the DNA test results?

We provide thepaternity test results in 2 days from receipt of samples for standard DNA testing. A shorter turnaround time can be arranged for an additional charge.

How will I receive my results?

This depends upon which type of results you order. We offer results in two manners. First, results are e-mailed as soon as the testing is complete. This option is standard for all non-legal tests and optional for legally binding tests. This is the quickest way to get your result. The other way to get your result is having a hard copy original sent in the mail. This is standard with the legal tests because this is your actual legal document. The hard copy result is optional for non-legal tests.

How do I interpret the Paternity Test report?

In the vast majority of paternity cases the results produce an unequivocal result. The alleged father is either “excluded” or is “not excluded” as the biological father. Each of the identity loci are analyzed separately to calculate a paternity index, and all the individual indexes are combined to calculate a “combined paternity index”. For more information see How to Interpret a Parentage Test Report. See a sample of a Negative paternity Result and also Positive Result Report here. You can also see a sample of a sibling DNA test result here.

What is the Combined Paternity Index?

The Paternity Index is a number that represents the likelihood of Paternity. The number is calculated based on how common the genetic information found in your test result is within your race population. The Paternity Indices for each genetic locus tested are used to calculate a Combined Paternity Index which can result in a 99.999% Probability of Paternity, or even higher in the case of a true match. As an example, if the CPI is 9,999,987 it means the odds of the tested father being the unique biological father are 9,999,987 to 1.

Can my results be used in court?

Yes, if you purchase a Court-Admissible Legal DNA Test. These tests have additional proof of identity and chain of custody requirements. A Court-Admissible Test is available by having the DNA collected at one of our DNA collection facilities or in some case we can also visit your home or office. Court-Admissible Home Test Kit. We maintain careful records on every sample processed. Results from our lab DNA Diagnostic “DDC” are admissible in a court of law, and by the USCIS for immigration purposes.

Are the results confidential?

Your results will be held in strictest confidence and released only to you.

What happens to the test samples (cheek swabs or blood) after the test?

Our normal procedure is to retain the samples for six months in case additional testing approved by the customer is necessary, and then destroy the samples. If you wish, however, you may request that we destroy all samples containing the tested persons’ DNA immediately after completing the test.

What about blood testing?

Blood testing and buccal testing offer equal accuracy. There are certain circumstances where blood testing may be a better option for the test participants, for example, if the child is less than 2 weeks old or the test participant is a heavy smoker who may have difficulty in abstaining from smoking for 3-4 hours before swabbing the mouth. The procedure involves the collecting a vile of blood. Please contect our office for further information.

Can you send a kit to me discretely?

We understand the sensitive nature of paternity tests. The kit is sent in a plain mailing envelope. The included mailer to be sent back also is addressed like this.

Are results from the Home Test Kit admissible in court?

Although the non-legal home paternity test kit and the legal home paternity test kits are essentially the same test, the non-legal version may not be used in court because the persons being tested are not legally being identified as prescribed by law. The non-legal test is intended to be as a discrete and private as possible whereby families can resolve paternity issues without involving outside parties and therefore not court-admissible. We do offer however, a Court-Admissible Home Test Kit for a small additional charge of $125.00 dollars.

How does the Home Test Kit work?

All Home Test Kits contain illustrated instructions and a consent form to be filled out with information about each family member providing a sample. Except for infants and very young children, each person collects his or her own samples; the collection process is simple. Buccal sampling takes about 45 minutes for 3 people, with an additional 60-90 minutes for the swabs to dry. Blood sampling takes about 5 minutes for 3 people. The samples are then returned to labeled tubes and containers. The samples, plus the paper forms, are placed in the included prepaid mailing envelope and sent by mail back to our laboratory.

Do I need a court or doctor’s order for a paternity test?

No, you do not need such an order to perform a parentage test, unless you are in the state of New York.


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