Paternity Testing FAQsLearn about DNA paternity testing and some of the more unusual questions we get asked
Is my 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 are accepted by:
- Family law courts
- The Ministry of Justice
- The Child Support Agency
- The UK Visas and Immigration Service
- The Home Office
A number of companies claim that their tests are legal or court admissible, but sadly this is not always the case. For the results of your paternity test to be accepted as evidence of paternity in UK courts of law under section 20 of the Family Law Act your tester must be on the Ministry of Justice’s 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 GDPR. Samples are destroyed after 3 months and all identification paperwork –hard copy and electronic files – are destroyed after 12–18 months.
Is a DNA profile unique?
The chance of two people having the same DNA profile is extremely rare.
However, identical twins – who have developed from the same fertilised egg share the same genetic material – and will therefore have the same DNA profile. Although, identical twins do not have identical fingerprints! You can read other fun facts about twins here.
Is home paternity testing illegal?
The Human Tissue Act 2004 covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Section 45 of this act includes a section 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 3 years imprisonment, a fine, or both. As such, regardless of who is instructing the DNA test, written authority is needed from any adult whose samples are provided for DNA testing. This is required by all testing laboratories, not just accredited laboratories like AlphaBiolabs.
When the DNA test involves a child under 16 years of age, only those who have parental responsibility for the child are able to give permission for the child’s DNA to be used in the test.
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 15 years of performing DNA paternity testing.
Can you test for paternity before the child is born?
Yes: our DNA prenatal paternity test is the UK’s most accurate non-invasive method to determine paternity of a baby before birth. This advanced procedure analyses the baby’s DNA that is found within the mother’s bloodstream. As such, there is no risk to the mother or the unborn child when taking this test, unlike an invasive prenatal test in which embryonic fluid is taken directly from the womb using a needle. Find out more about DNA prenatal testing here.
Do you need the mother’s DNA sample for a paternity test?
We do not need the mother’s DNA sample to perform a paternity test. Our paternity tests look at up to 35 DNA markers and examine the child’s DNA to identify which half is inherited from the mother and which half is from the father.
However, the Human Genetics Commission and the Department of Health both recommend that the mother should be at least aware of the test if not directly involved. Including the mother’s sample also helps identify which of the child’s DNA comes from her, leaving the paternal DNA to compare against the alleged father.