How to choose a DNA testing company

Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

By Casey Randall, Head of Genetics at AlphaBiolabs

Last reviewed: 09/08/2023

Home DNA testing has grown in popularity in recent years – from people who have questions about their family relationships, to those who are simply curious about their ancestry. 

But with so many companies now offering DNA testing services and home DNA test kits, how can you be sure you are choosing the right DNA testing laboratory for you? 

In this article, we discuss the key factors to consider when choosing a DNA testing company, including your reasons for wanting a DNA test, reputation and credibility of the company, testing accuracy, pricing, and the level of customer support available. 

What do I need to look for when choosing a DNA test?

Depending on your reasons for wanting a DNA test, moving forward with DNA testing can be a difficult decision, especially in circumstances where the results of the test could have a significant impact on family relationships.

Before ordering a test, it’s important to consider all the factors that could impact your experience throughout the testing process, including the type of DNA test you need, and the credibility of the DNA testing company.

Here are the key points to consider when choosing a DNA testing company to perform your test.

The type of DNA test you require

There are many reasons why you might want a DNA test, from verifying the identity of a biological parent (paternity, maternity, and prenatal paternity testing), to determining your biological relationship to extended family members.

However, the type of test you order can also depend on your reasons for needing the test.

For example, if you want a DNA test for your own information, a peace of mind DNA test is ideal. These tests require you to collect your own DNA samples at home before returning them to the laboratory for analysis.

The results of a peace of mind test can help you answer any questions you might have but cannot be used for legal matters.

If you need a DNA test for legal matters such as changing the name on a birth certificate, for child maintenance or custody disputes, or for wills and probate, it is important to check that the DNA testing company has the correct procedures in place to ensure DNA test results are legally admissible.

For example, for an AlphaBiolabs legal DNA test, samples are collected under strict chain of custody procedures by a trained sample collector, ensuring DNA samples are collected in the correct way, from the right people.

This ensures that the DNA results will be accepted by a variety of organisations for legal matters, including the Family Court, the Child Maintenance Service, the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration.

It is also worth considering what the test can offer in terms of specific features such as the number of DNA markers (loci) analysed.

AlphaBiolabs’ industry-leading DNA tests already analyse up to 25 DNA markers (loci) – way ahead of the industry standard of 16-21 markers.

What sets us apart is that we can also analyse up to 45 DNA markers, allowing for even more genetic material to be analysed, which strengthens the results of the test and provides additional reassurance.

This comprehensive analysis is especially useful when performing DNA paternity tests, where:

  • A close male relative may be the biological father of the child
  • The mother’s sample is not included or unavailable
  • Where you are looking for additional reassurance regarding the DNA test result

It is also helpful for more complex relationship tests, such as sibling, aunt, uncle, and grandparent tests, where the chance of obtaining a conclusive result is not as high as the more straightforward paternity or maternity tests.

The reputation of the DNA testing company

With so many options available when choosing a DNA test, it can be difficult to know which company you can trust to deliver 100% accurate, reliable DNA test results.

However, there are ways to find out more about the company’s reputation and credibility as a provider of DNA testing.

This includes reading online reviews and testimonials from previous customers, which can offer insight into the reliability of a DNA testing company.

You may also want to consider whether they have been recommended by other reputable partners and trusted sources.

AlphaBiolabs, for example, is a government-accredited testing laboratory accredited by the Ministry of Justice to carry out DNA relationship tests as directed by the civil courts in England and Wales under Section 21 of the Family Law Reform Act (1969).

Other reputational factors to consider include how long the company has been operating, the number of tests it has carried out, and the calibre of scientists employed to carry out the testing.

AlphaBiolabs has performed over one million genetic tests for members of the public and the UK legal profession – including social workers and family law solicitors – since the company was established 20 years ago.

We also employ highly-skilled and expertly-trained DNA scientists, with all testing performed in-house at our UK laboratory, using the very latest scientific techniques and methodology.

Additionally, we hold an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot for our laboratory testing, based on real feedback from satisfied customers across the UK.

Testing accuracy and quality

A good indicator of DNA test accuracy includes everything from the accreditation and certifications held by the company to the laboratory processes and technology used to perform the test, and whether DNA samples are analysed in-house.

A key factor in DNA testing accuracy is whether the company holds accreditation from the UK Accreditation Service for its laboratory testing.

UKAS ISO 17025 is the internationally recognised standard for Testing and Calibration Laboratories that companies need to hold to demonstrate that they operate a quality system, are technically competent and can generate technically valid results.

AlphaBiolabs holds UKAS ISO 17025 accreditation, as well as being certified to ISO 9001 – the internationally-recognised standard for the quality management of businesses, so you can be assured you will always get the best customer service from us.

Additionally, all our DNA testing is performed in-house at our UK laboratory – so your samples will never be sent abroad.

Other indicators of DNA testing accuracy include the number of DNA markers analysed during testing.

AlphaBiolabs’ industry-leading DNA tests already analyse up to 25 DNA markers (loci) – way ahead of the industry standard of 16-21 markers.

What sets us apart is that we can also analyse up to 45 DNA markers, allowing for even more genetic material to be analysed, which strengthens the results of the test and provides additional reassurance.

This is especially useful when performing DNA paternity tests, where:

  • A close male relative may be the biological father of the child
  • The mother’s sample is not included or unavailable
  • You are looking for additional reassurance regarding the DNA test result

This comprehensive analysis is also helpful for more complex relationship tests, such as sibling, aunt, uncle, and grandparent tests, where the chance of obtaining a conclusive result is not as high as the more straightforward paternity or maternity tests.  This is because the shared DNA has not been directly inherited.

In these cases, an enhanced test (analysing up to 45 DNA markers) can increase the chance of obtaining a conclusive result.

Privacy and security

There are many reasons why privacy and confidentiality are of the utmost importance for peace of mind and legal DNA testing and for people ordering DNA tests online.

For example, you might be a mother who has suspicions that your child’s father is not the biological father of your child(ren). Or you may have longstanding questions about a biological relationship to a family member for which you want answers.

Many people who buy DNA tests online choose to do so without telling anyone about their decision to order a test.

This is completely understandable and means that discreet delivery of the DNA test kit – and the DNA test results – is essential.

Before choosing a DNA testing company, take a look at the company’s privacy policy and data protection measures.

For example, is all testing confidential? And how safe is your data?

AlphaBiolabs takes several steps to ensure 100% privacy and confidentiality for all our customers throughout the DNA testing process:

  • We password protect all data – all our reports are sent as a PDF file, requiring a password to open them. This password is chosen by the person who instructs us to perform the DNA test
  • We never sell on your data – in fact, we limit access to your personal data to only those individuals who have a business need to know
  • We keep your results and personal information secure – we work hard to prevent your personal data from being disclosed or accessed in an unauthorised way by using a secure server that protects any financial transactions on our website
  • We adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – this means that all DNA samples and all identification documents are destroyed in accordance with this regulation

Level of customer support available

Ordering a DNA test is an extremely personal decision that can have wide-ranging consequences for family relationships, depending on the results of the test.

That’s why it is important to choose a testing company that can offer the right amount of customer support before purchasing your test, right through to delivery of the results in a secure, confidential way.

Before selecting your DNA testing provider, look at the customer support available. For example, do they have a contact telephone number and email address that is clearly displayed and easily accessible?

How long do they take to respond to customer queries? A look at their customer reviews – such as those posted via Trustpilot or Google – can help you find out more about the level of customer support on offer.

The speed of the DNA test results

For most people ordering a DNA test, it is important that the results come back quickly, to reduce any stress or anxiety that may be felt while waiting for the results.

This is especially true in situations where the result of the test could have a significant impact on family relationships.

If you need the results of your test quickly, be sure to choose a company that can offer rapid results.

At AlphaBiolabs, for example, we pride ourselves on offering 100% accurate, reliable results quicker than any other UK laboratory.

Depending on which DNA test you choose, you could receive your results the next day* – or even the same day*, for an additional fee.

*From receipt of your samples at our laboratory.

The cost of the DNA test

Before ordering a DNA test, it is important to understand what is included within the cost of your test.

For example, does the cost of the test include all fees for laboratory testing and analysis, or just the price of the testing kit?

Is the price of the DNA test reasonable when compared to other testing companies offering equivalent tests with the same levels of quality, assurance and customer service?

At AlphaBiolabs, we pride ourselves on offering high quality DNA testing, with rapid results, at a highly competitive price.

For most of our DNA tests, the price of the test includes your test kit, all fees for laboratory testing and analysis, and Royal Mail First Class shipping for your test kit.

Transparency – does the company provide enough information about its services?

What can you find out about the company’s services before purchasing your DNA test?

For example, do they provide enough detail about their testing methodology, pricing, and results via their website, or will you need to contact them for this information?

The more you can find out online before ordering your DNA test, the more confidence you will have when making your decision.

At AlphaBiolabs, we understand the sensitivity involved in purchasing a DNA test, which is why we offer a wealth of information on our website to help you make an informed decision about which test is best for you.

You can also find a wide variety of articles on DNA testing in our Learning Centre, covering everything from the type of DNA tests we offer, to how the tests are performed, and why you might need to order a DNA test.

Where can I get a DNA test?

It’s easy to order a DNA test online now, from only £99.

We offer a comprehensive range of DNA tests to suit a variety of needs, with all testing carried out at our award-winning, accredited UK laboratory.

Our DNA testing services include parental DNA tests (paternity and maternity), prenatal DNA tests, sibling DNA tests, twin DNA tests, grandparent DNA tests and avuncular (aunt and uncle) DNA tests.

Simply place your order online and we will ship your test kit out to you in discreet, plain packaging, for full confidentiality.

Need help with sample collection? Call us on 0333 600 1300 to arrange for an AlphaBiolabs clinician to visit you at home or another location. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment at one of our nationwide walk-in centres.

For confidential advice on which DNA test is right for you, call our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email info@alphabiolabs.com.

DNA testing you can trust

Explore our range of rapid, reliable home DNA tests, available from just £99

Casey Randall AlphaBiolabs

Casey Randall

Head of Genetics at AlphaBiolabs

Casey joined the AlphaBiolabs team in 2012 and heads up both the DNA and Health testing teams.

An expert in DNA analysis and a member of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG), Casey holds an MSc with Distinction in DNA Profiling and a First-Class BSc with Honours in Forensic Science.

Casey is responsible for maintaining the highest quality testing standards, as well as looking for ways to further enhance the service that AlphaBiolabs provides and exploring new and innovative techniques in DNA analysis.

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