Parental responsibility means the power to make important decisions in relation to a child. It is defined in section 3 (part 1) of the Children Act 1989 as being:

‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’.

Before AlphaBiolabs can perform any of its DNA testing services on a child under the age of 18 years, a signature is needed from someone who has parental responsibility for the child. This is because a child may not understand the full implications of any DNA testing being undertaken. A consent signature is needed to signify:

• You agree to have DNA samples analysed for the purpose specified
• You understand the test ordered and any limitations associated with it
• You have read, understood and accept the terms and conditions

Who has parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility differs depending on whether the children were born in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. In summary:

• Mothers automatically have parental responsibility for any children from birth and will not lose it if divorced.
• Married fathers automatically have parental responsibility and will not lose it if divorced.
• Unmarried fathers do not automatically have parental responsibility, but there are ways to achieve this.

More detailed information on parental responsibility can be found on our Learning Centre and the and Child Law Advice websites.

If you have any queries or need further information on DNA testing, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 (+441925 255 450) or email