Below you will find questions and answers covering everything you need to know about DNA paternity testing, including peace of mind testing, and testing for legal matters.
Still have questions about our paternity testing? Call our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Table of contents
- How does paternity testing work?
- What type of paternity test should I use?
- What is the difference between a peace of mind test and a court-approved paternity test?
- How much will the test cost in total?
- When will I receive my kit and test results?
- What samples are required for a paternity test?
- How soon can a paternity test be done?
- Is the test confidential?
- Does the mother have to provide a DNA sample?
- How are the results analysed?
- How accurate are the results?
- Is my legal paternity test really court approved?
- What else can be discovered from a paternity test?
- Is a person’s DNA profile unique?
- Is home paternity testing legal?
- Will you provide my paternity results to Government Agencies?
- Can you test for paternity before the child is born?
- What is included in the kit?
- Where can I buy a paternity test?
How does paternity testing work?
Paternity testing is a highly accurate method of identifying whether a man is a child’s biological father.
For a peace of mind paternity test, cheek (buccal) swabs are used to collect cheek cell DNA from the alleged father(s) and the child.
These samples can then be analysed and compared in the laboratory to identify matching DNA markers (loci) in the DNA samples.
Every person inherits half of their DNA from each of their biological parents, so such a comparison can help us to establish the probability of paternity.
When testing the biological father, both the man and the child will share enough identical sections of DNA to confirm a biological relationship. If the tested man is not the biological father, this will not be the case.
An AlphaBiolabs paternity DNA test looks at up to 45 DNA markers (loci) – double the industry standard for DNA testing – for a 100% accurate and reliable result.
What type of paternity test should I use?
The type of paternity test you choose depends on whether you require the results for your own knowledge, or for use in court.
As the name implies, a peace of mind paternity test is done purely for your own information, and the results cannot be used in court or for legal matters.
A peace of mind paternity test also allows you to collect your own samples at home, without the need for a third party to verify the sample collection.
If you require a paternity test for legal matters such as for child maintenance or custody disputes, changing the name on a birth certificate, or for wills and probate, you will need a legally-instructed paternity test.
Both peace of mind and legally-instructed paternity tests are performed in the same way at the laboratory. However, for a legal paternity test, the DNA samples must be collected under strict chain of custody conditions.
For chain of custody DNA collection, a trained sample collector will obtain the DNA samples, collect the correct ID and consent from all participants, and ensure the samples are safely transported back to the laboratory, to prevent tampering.
Other options for paternity testing include:
Prenatal Paternity Test
This test, also known as a non-invasive prenatal paternity (NIPP) test is based on the same principle as a standard paternity test.
By examining the baby’s DNA together with the parents’ DNA, it is possible to determine which half of the baby’s DNA is inherited from the mother and which half is from the father.
An AlphaBiolabs Prenatal Paternity Test is 100% risk free for mother and baby and can be performed as early as 7 weeks into pregnancy. All that is required is a blood sample from the mother, which must be collected by a trained medical practitioner, and cheek (buccal) swabs from the mother and the alleged father(s).
If you require a prenatal paternity test for legal matters, you will need a legal prenatal DNA test.
Y chromosome (Y-DNA) test
A Y chromosome test, also known as a Y-DNA test, is used in cases where alleged male relatives wish to confirm they share a common paternal line, and can be useful if the alleged father is unavailable or unwilling to participate in a paternity test.
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.
Since the Y chromosome mutates once every 10,000 years, it is possible to analyse and compare test participants to determine a biological relationship through the paternal family line.
If the males in question are related, their Y chromosome will be identical.
What is the difference between a peace of mind test and a court-approved paternity test?
A ‘peace of mind’ test means that the paternity test can be self-administered at home using one of our kits that we will send to an address of your choice, in discreet, plain packaging.
It can be used for your own knowledge and peace of mind, but as the samples will have been collected by you (self-administered) the results of the DNA test cannot be used in legal proceedings.
It is still a 100% accurate and reliable form of paternity testing, and if you only need it for your own knowledge, then it is a more affordable solution to determining the paternity of a child.
A ‘court-approved’ paternity test is a test that can be used as proof of paternity in legal cases. The difference here is that the DNA samples are collected by a third party under chain of custody conditions. In these circumstances, a trained sample collector will ensure the DNA samples are collected from the right people, that the correct consent is obtained, and that the DNA samples are safely transported back to the laboratory to prevent the possibility of tampering.
The process in the laboratory and the results are just as accurate for a peace of mind test as they are for a legal paternity test. However, having the DNA samples collected under chain of custody conditions reduces the possibility of foul-play for legal paternity testing, such as tampering and bogus sample donation (e.g. the wrong person’s sample being used due to a fraudulent submission).
If you require a paternity test for your own knowledge, you can order a peace of mind paternity test online now.
If you require a paternity test for legal matters, you will need to instruct us for a legal paternity test.
We are approved by the Ministry of Justice to perform parentage testing, and our DNA test results are accepted by UK courts, UK Visas and Immigration, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), Family Court and HM Passport Office.
How much will the test cost in total?
You can order a peace of mind paternity test online now for just £99, for results the next working day.* Alternatively, you can choose to receive results the same working day* for an additional £70.
Your test kit will be sent directly to your chosen address in discreet, plain packaging. Royal Mail First Class shipping is included with the cost of your test, or you could choose to receive your test kit sooner with Next Working Day Courier (+£9.95).
A legal paternity test costs a little more. For guidance on the cost of our court-approved paternity tests, call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email email@example.com.
*working days from when the samples arrive at our laboratory before 10am
When will I receive my kit and test results?
Your paternity test kit will be dispatched as soon as we receive your order, and is usually posted out the same day via Royal Mail First Class post (provided you instruct us before 2pm).
Once we receive the DNA samples at our laboratory, your secure, password-protected results will be emailed to you the next working day as standard, or the same working day if you have paid for our express service.* All DNA test results are emailed out from 4:30pm each day.
*working days from when the samples arrive at our laboratory before 10am
What samples are required for a paternity test?
A paternity test is performed by analysing and comparing the DNA samples of the alleged father with that of the child.
The DNA samples are obtained using cheek (buccal) swabs which are rubbed gently and painlessly on the inside of each donor’s cheek to collect cheek (buccal) cells. A peace of mind paternity test – done for your own personal information – allows you to collect your own DNA samples quickly and easily at home, without the need for a third party to verify the sample collection.
Once you have returned the DNA samples to our laboratory, they are analysed by our in-house geneticists to determine whether the man is the biological father of the child.
If the tested man is the biological father, both will share enough DNA markers (loci) to verify a biological relationship. If the tested man is not the biological father, this will not be the case.
How soon can a paternity test be done?
A paternity test can be performed at any time on a person of any age, including newborn babies and grown up children/adults.
There is no minimum age requirement, and the procedure for collecting the DNA samples is totally painless. The DNA samples are collected using a cheek (buccal) swab which is rubbed gently and painlessly on the inside of the cheek to collect cheek (buccal) cells.
However, consent is crucial in DNA testing, regardless of the age of the participants. Any person over 16 years of age must provide their own consent (a signature) for their DNA samples to be used in testing.
For children under the age of 16, consent must be provided on their behalf by a parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child.
A paternity test can also be performed during pregnancy. This is called a prenatal paternity test, and requires a blood sample from the mother and cheek swabs from the mother and alleged father(s).
A non-invasive prenatal paternity test can be performed as early as 7 weeks into pregnancy (or 9 weeks since the mother’s last period). You can learn more about prenatal paternity testing here.
Is the test confidential?
DNA testing can be an extremely emotional time, and not all our customers want other people to know that they are undertaking such tests.
That’s why we go to great lengths to ensure 100% privacy and confidentiality for our customers, from the moment you place your order, to the delivery of your results in a secure way.
Steps we take to ensure confidentiality throughout the testing process include:
- Shipping your test kit in discreet, plain packaging
- Sending your secure, password-protected results direct to the email address you provide when placing your order
- Keeping all correspondence confidential. For example, online payment transactions do NOT name AlphaBiolabs as the recipient on bank statements
- Limiting access to your personal data to those people who have a business need to know
- Protecting your data from being disclosed in an unauthorised way, by using a secure server for financial transactions on our website
- Adhering to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Does the mother have to provide a DNA sample?
No, the mother’s sample is not required for an AlphaBiolabs paternity test.
How are the results analysed?
AlphaBiolabs uses the very latest technology and techniques in DNA analysis to perform paternity testing.
Every human being is born with a DNA profile that is completely unique to them (except for identical twins, who share the same genetic material).
Each person inherits half of their genetic material from each of their parents, with mum and dad each passing half of their DNA profile to their children.
These profiles make up the building blocks of a person’s DNA.
In the laboratory, it is possible for DNA scientists to analyse the DNA of an individual and identify where a person shares matching ‘building blocks’ – alleles – with one or more people.
DNA markers that are shared between the tested individuals can determine whether they are related.
If you’ve been shopping around for a paternity test, you may also have noticed that many testing laboratories talk about the number of loci analysed within the cost of the test.
Loci is in fact the scientific term for the locations of DNA markers within a strand of DNA: a genetic ‘street address’ for a DNA marker within the DNA strand.
Because loci are located on chromosomes and we inherit one chromosome from each of our parents, each locus (location in the DNA strand) is home to two alleles (one from each parent).
AlphaBiolabs’ DNA tests, including our paternity tests, analyse up to 45 DNA markers (loci) – double the industry standard – to determine whether two or more people are biologically related.
In DNA test example (A.) you can see that the child has inherited half of its genetic material from its mother, and half from the alleged father. This indicates that the man and child share enough DNA markers to verify a biological relationship.
In DNA test example (B.) you can see that the alleged father does not share any DNA markers with the child and is therefore excluded from paternity (i.e. he cannot be the biological father).
How accurate are the results?
Our paternity testing is 100% accurate and reliable, based on the samples we receive at our laboratory.
Better still, AlphaBiolabs is UKAS ISO 17025 accredited, meaning that we meet the highest international quality standard for testing laboratories, as recognised by the government.
Is my legal paternity test really court approved?
AlphaBiolabs’ legal DNA testing follows strict procedures to maintain chain of custody, which means that our results are court-approved and accepted by:
- Family Court
- Ministry of Justice
- Child Maintenance Service
- UK Visas and Immigration
- The Home Office
- Border Force
- Immigration Enforcement
A number of companies claim that their tests are legal or court admissible, but sadly this is not always the case.
Under section 20 of the Family Law Act, for the results of your paternity test to be accepted as evidence of paternity in UK courts of law, the testing laboratory must be on the Ministry of Justice list of accredited DNA testing suppliers. You can see AlphaBiolabs’ listing here.
You need to also ensure that you buy your DNA test from a supplier that is fully accredited for legal DNA testing.
If a supplier has not achieved ISO 17025 accreditation for its administrative processes, it could disclose your information to third parties such as advertisers.
As well as ISO 17025 accreditation, the Human Tissue Act (HTA) which came into force in September 2006, places additional restrictions and responsibilities on those conducting DNA paternity tests.
The HTA has requested that (other) DNA testing companies take urgent action to review the content of their websites and their practices to ensure that they are complying with the HTA and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
What else can be discovered from a paternity test?
DNA testing can be used to learn a number of things including susceptibility to a range of diseases; however, the DNA sample that is taken for our paternity test will only be used for paternity testing.
Customers can be reassured that information regarding their test results is only released to those individuals that the customer nominates.
AlphaBiolabs conforms to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Samples are destroyed after three months and all identification paperwork –hard copy and electronic files – are destroyed after 4 years.
Is a person’s DNA profile unique?
Yes, every human being has a genetic profile unique to them, with identical twins being the exception.
Identical twins, also known as monozygotic twins, happen when a single fertilised egg divides into two, creating identical twins who share the same genes.
You can find more fun facts about identical twins here.
Is home paternity testing legal?
Home peace of mind paternity testing is completely legal, provided the correct consent is given for the sample donors participating in the DNA test.
The Human Tissue Act 2004, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, includes a section (Section 45) on the non-consensual analysis of DNA and creates a new offence of DNA ‘theft’.
It is unlawful to have human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed, without the consent of the person from whom the tissue came. In Scotland, The Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 deals with the uses of human tissue, and similarly includes the non-consensual analysis of DNA. The offence of DNA theft thus applies UK-wide.
Failing to obtain or misusing consent could result in penalties of up to three years imprisonment, a fine, or both.
As such, regardless of who is instructing the DNA test, authority is needed from or on behalf of each person whose samples are provided for DNA testing. This is required by all testing laboratories, not just accredited laboratories like AlphaBiolabs.
Any person aged 16 or over must provide their own consent (a signature) to take part in DNA testing.
For children under 16 years of age, consent must be provided by a parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child.
In the UK, a mother has parental responsibility for her child automatically from birth.
A father usually has parental responsibility if he’s either:
- Married to the child’s mother
- Listed on the birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in)
Will you provide my paternity results to Government Agencies?
We never disclose any information to any person or body unless specifically told to release this information by the individuals taking the test.
This has never happened in over 15 years of performing DNA paternity testing.
Can you test for paternity before the child is born?
Yes, it is possible to perform a paternity test before a baby is born. This test is known as a non-invasive prenatal paternity test or a NIPP test.
The testing process for a non-invasive prenatal paternity test is based on the same principle as a standard paternity test. By examining the baby’s DNA together with the parents’ DNA, it is possible to determine which half of the baby’s DNA is inherited from the mother and which half is from the father.
Unlike other prenatal paternity tests which involve taking cells from the placenta (chorionic villus sampling or CVS test) or extracting a sample of amniotic fluid (amniocentesis) – both of which carry a small risk of miscarriage – all that is required for a NIPP test is a blood sample from the mother, and cheek (buccal) swabs from the mother and the alleged father.
This means that an AlphaBiolabs Prenatal Paternity Test is 100% risk free for mother and baby.
The test can be performed as early as 7 weeks into pregnancy (or 9 weeks since the first day of the mother’s last period).
What is included in the kit?
An AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test kit includes:
- A peace of mind DNA test request/consent form
- Full instructions on how to take the DNA paternity test and return the samples to us
- A self-addressed envelope to send your DNA test samples back to us
- Two collection swab packages containing two swabs in each package
- Individual DNA test sample envelopes for the alleged father and the child
Your test kit will be sent to your chosen address in discreet, plain packaging, for full confidentiality.
If you want to test more than one child with the same test, you can add extra children to the package when ordering and more swabs will be provided in the DNA test kit (additional charges apply).
Where can I buy a paternity test?
It’s easy to order an AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test online now for just £99, with results available the next working day.
Alternatively, you can choose to receive you results the same working day for an additional £70.
If you require a legally-instructed paternity test, it’s easy to request a quote online, and a member of the Legal team will be in touch to discuss your needs. You can also call our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
Order your home paternity test
Buy an AlphaBiolabs Paternity Test online now from just £99, with results available the next working day.
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