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Can a DNA paternity test be performed without a father being involved? This question could be related to two scenarios.

1. Father is unaware or does not consent to a DNA test

It is illegal to obtain a DNA sample from a father for testing without his knowledge. Regardless of who is instructing the DNA test, written authority is needed from all adults whose samples are provided for testing. This is required by all testing laboratories, not just accredited laboratories like AlphaBiolabs. Failing to obtain or to misuse consent could result in penalties of up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

In the case of legal DNA testing, trained sample collectors follow strict chain of custody conditions. This involves inspecting ID, checking the signed consent forms and confirming the correct person has provided the sample. Photographic evidence can also be required for some legal cases, in particular for immigration. Peace of Mind DNA tests, which are for personal use only, do not require such strict sample collection arrangements. However, signed consent forms are still required.

More information on why consent is need can be read on our Learning Centre article Why is consent needed?

If a father refuses to consent to a DNA test, alternative DNA relationship tests can be performed to establish a direct biological relationship via other family members. Grandparent DNA tests, for example, could prove a link between an individual and one or more of their father’s parents. One of the main reasons AlphaBiolabs performs this grandparent test is when a child’s alleged father is unavailable for paternity testing and the child’s grandparents want to know whether the child is truly related to them. In a grandparent test, a DNA profile for each individual taking part in the test is produced. Since a child inherits half of his or her genetic profile from each biological parent, when a child’s father is unavailable for testing, we can look to the grandparents to determine if they contributed DNA to the child’s genetic profile.

In the same way, DNA aunt testing or DNA uncle testing (also known as avuncular tests) can be performed on the father’s sister or brother to establish a biological relationship to a child. DNA sibling testing can establish whether or not brothers and sisters have the same father. Another option is Y chromosome testing, which can prove that alleged male relatives share a common paternal line. All male children inherit their Y chromosome from their father; these children will in turn pass the Y chromosome inherited from their father to their children when they become fathers. A full match between profiles confirms a shared paternal line. If the males have different Y chromosome profiles then they are not related.

2. Father is deceased

If a father has passed away and a direct biological relationship needs to be proved to another family member, the alternative DNA relationship tests outlined above can all be used to get the answer you need.

If the father has only recently deceased. There is another method that could be used but which would require consent from the next of kin. A viability study involves analysing the deceased’s nail clippings to see if a DNA profile can be achieved. If DNA can be analysed, a paternity test can be performed in the usual way.

If You’re unsure on which DNA relationship test is right for your particular case, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300; email:;