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Peace of Mind vs. Legal DNA tests

DNA testing is the most scientific and accurate way of solving relationship disputes and can confirm whether two or more individuals are biologically related. AlphaBiolabs offers a wide range of DNA testing kits to determine family relationships. These include paternity tests, maternity tests, sibling tests, twin (zygosity) tests, grandparent tests, aunt and uncle tests, Y chromosome tests and single profile DNA tests. All of these relationship tests are all offered as Peace of Mind or Legal tests. Understanding the difference between these two types of test is explained in this article.

What does Peace of Mind mean?

Peace of Mind DNA tests are for personal use only. As the name implies, the results of these tests may give you the answers you need to stop worrying about a particular problem, but they are for your knowledge only.

The DNA testing kits can be easily acquired at local High Street stores or they can be posted direct to your home from our testing laboratory. Full instructions tell you how to easily collect your cheek cells using the swabs contained in the kits. After returning the samples to our laboratory, DNA is extracted from the cheek cells and the analysis begins. Results can be made available the next working day, or even earlier if required. A consent form must be signed by all individuals taking part in the testing. However, as there are no checks made on the individual undertaking the testing and no strict sample collection arrangements (known as chain of custody conditions), these tests are for information only and cannot be used for legal reasons. Some individuals choose to undertake a Peace of Mind test to find out the result prior to undertaking a legal test for court proceedings.

Legal DNA tests are court-approved

A legal DNA sample is analysed in exactly the same way as a Peace of Mind DNA sample. However, because the sample is collected by the customer in Peace of Mind tests the opportunity for tampering or fraudulent submissions cannot be eliminated.

For this reason, legal DNA tests are required when there is a need to prove paternity in a court of law, change the name on a birth certificate, in child custody cases, will and probate disputes, and when dealing with immigration applications. It is important to let our dedicated Account Managers know as much information as possible about your case, to give you the best advice on which test to undertake.

As a UKAS ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, AlphaBiolabs can provide testing that is fully confidential with court-approved results that are accepted by Family Law Courts, the Ministry of Justice, the Child Support Agency and the Home Office. Our court-approved tests include:

  • Legal paternity and maternity testing
  • DNA relationship testing (such as Y chromosome, aunt and uncle, sibling, twin and grandparent testing)
  • Legal immigration testing

With legal DNA testing, approved sample collectors, a nurse or another medical professional needs to collect the DNA sample (cheek cells again) whilst following strict chain of custody conditions. This involves the collector taking a photo of the sample donor, inspecting identification, checking the signed consent forms and confirming the correct person has provided the sample. The samples can be collected from any location in the UK, whether a client’s home, at offices, prisons or at nationwide Walk in Centres. The collectors then pass the samples direct to AlphaBiolabs to perform the DNA testing and to provide a report. Under these strict collection conditions, there is no chance of the sample being interfered with and the results are therefore admissible in a court of law.

How do I interpret the DNA results?

DNA test results can be made available the next working day, or even same day if required. This rapid DNA testing service won AlphaBiolabs a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

An information sheet explaining the results accompanies the DNA test results in Peace of Mind cases. In paternity cases, the results are conclusive (either 0% or above 99% probability of paternity).

In legal DNA cases, a Statement of Witness report is provided to explain the results in a clear and concise manner. These reports include all the details of the examinations performed, the results in full and a conclusion based on the evidence.

In addition, to save you time deciphering the content, our Chief Reporting Scientist also provides their expert opinion where they interpret the results. Together with the other available evidence, our reports will be invaluable in helping you determine the outcome for your case.

Want to know more or got any queries?

Our Learning Centre includes helpful articles on a range of DNA testing including:

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Paternity testing facts
  • How to change a name on a birth certificate
  • Can a mother refuse a paternity test?
  • Paternity test percentages explained

If you require any further information on any of our Peace of Mind or Legal DNA testing services, please contact AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300; email: info@alphabiolabs.com; www.alphabiolabs.co.uk