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Can I get my DNA test for free on the NHS? This is a question that our Customer Services team get asked regularly.

DNA testing, including Paternity tests, aren’t available on the NHS. What the NHS advises is that you discuss your situation with your GP [1]. Your GP can consider your case and may be able to arrange counselling before or after the test. It is important to carefully think about the issues involved with DNA testing and the full implications of the result for everybody concerned, particularly when children are involved. Getting proof of biological parentage may be reassuring, but on the other hand – you may not get the results you were hoping for – it may be distressing.

Paternity DNA testing

Paternity tests work by analysing DNA within samples provided by the family members. By analysing specific DNA markers in each sample, it is possible to identify which half of the child’s DNA is inherited from the father and which half is from the mother. If the man undergoing DNA testing is the biological father, both child and father will share identical sections of DNA at each marker. If the tested man is not the biological father there will be differences in the DNA. The results are 100% accurate.

Paternity test cost

The costs of a paternity test can vary widely so it is important to do your research. Some testing companies will offer cut-price tests, but you’ll need to then pay a high fee to get them to process your samples. It’s also important to choose a testing company that is accredited and offers a high-quality service. The NHS directs customers to government accredited testing laboratories [2].

Professional testing companies will be UKAS accredited, which means they have been assessed against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate their competence, impartiality and performance capability.

Paternity test UK

There are two types of paternity tests available: Peace of Mind and Legal.

Peace of Mind DNA testing kits can be easily acquired from websites and posted direct to your home. They can also be bought at some local High Street stores. Full instructions tell you how to simply and painlessly collect your DNA samples (usually cheek buccal cells) using the swabs provided in the kits. The samples are then returned to the lab for analysis, with results available within days. AlphaBiolabs offers these types of home testing kits from £99 for next day results or £169 for same day results.

Legal paternity tests (also known as court-ordered paternity tests) are needed to stand as evidence in court, to change the name on a birth certificate and for child custody issues. As such, they need to be performed under specific instructions, known as chain of custody. A trained sample collector would need to ensure that the correct individual is providing the sample by checking ID, taking photographs and getting signed paperwork. Your GP may also be able to collect your DNA samples (usually for a fee) and send them securely back to the lab for testing. As such, the DNA sample does not leave the custody of those who are legally responsible for ensuring the authenticity of its results. Legal samples can also be collected for free at nationwide Walk in Centres.

Further details on our DNA testing services can be accessed at our Frequently Asked Questions page. Alternatively, If you have any queries or need further information, please call Customer Services on 0333 600 1300 or email customerservices@alphabiolabs.com.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1017.aspx?CategoryID=61

[2] https://www.gov.uk/get-dna-test