Should I Take a DNA Test?

What are the implications of taking a DNA test?

Should I Take a DNA Test?

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to take a DNA test. One of the most common reasons is a paternity test, which can establish whether an alleged father of a child is the true biological father. Similarly, there are a number of different tests that can prove whether or not two people or more are related in one way or another through DNA relationship testing.

A person may already know the relationship between their relatives, but need to prove so in order to bring that person into the country. For example, a UK citizen may use DNA testing for immigration purposes in order to bring their child over as a legal requirement of the Home Office.

Peace of Mind DNA Testing

DNA testing is usually for peace of mind or for legal reasons (court approved DNA testing), both of which can be provided by AlphaBiolabs. Peace of Mind DNA testing involves DNA testing for some of the reasons mentioned above, that are just for someone’s own knowledge and are not to be used in court (or for the CSA or Home Office).

These usually come in the form of a DNA testing kit and are one of the few scenarios where a DNA test can be self-administered as they are just for peace of mind and do not have to follow such a strict sample collection procedure (although the instructions should be followed carefully.)

Discreet or Infidelity Testing

Other tests that can be conducted at home include ‘discreet’ or ‘infidelity’ testing, in which samples are collected without the knowledge of the person who is being tested. These types of test are usually used to determine if someone is cheating in a relationship or if a partner doubts the claimed parentage of child.

Even though this is not to be used in court (it certainly would not be accepted as evidence in any court) and is only for peace of mind, it is still a risky area of testing as it breaches section 45 of the Human Tissue Act because it does not ask for consent from the person being tested.

As AlphaBiolabs adheres to this act, alongside every other required law around DNA testing, we do not offer such testing.

You may be considering using a DNA test to prove a partner has been unfaithful, but consent should always be given when performing DNA testing for any purpose. You should always ensure that you use a company that asks for the relevant consent of everyone being tested.

Court Approved DNA Testing for Civil Law Courts, CSA and Home Office

DNA testing may be required to prove (or disprove) a biological relationship between two or more people in legal cases. For example, an alleged father may need to dispute that he should pay child maintenance for a child that he claims is not his; or a mother may want to dispute a claim that a child is the offspring of an alleged father if they want to deny them access to the child. These particular cases would usually relate to the Child Support Agency (CSA), but such testing could be used for a number of legal cases.

As another example, DNA testing could be used to establish a biological relationship if it was disputed that someone is entitled to inheritance due to a family connection to the deceased. They can also be used in immigration cases as mentioned earlier.

AlphaBiolabs is UKAS ISO 17025 accredited for DNA testing, so we are independently assessed to ensure we meet the highest standards. We are also Ministry of Justice approved to carry out parentage tests directed by civil courts in England and Wales under Section 20 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969. We also adhere to a strict chain of custody and remain 100% confidential during all parts of the DNA testing process.

DNA testing to find out whether alleged parents are biological parents

You may consider getting a DNA test to prove whether or not people claiming they are your alleged parents are, or you suspect them to be, your biological parents. You may have been separated from your parents at an early age or have been adopted for example, requiring either a paternity DNA test or a maternity DNA test (or both) to determine the truth.

It is important to get their consent before any testing can take place and it may also be important to consider the impact of the consequences of DNA testing. You may need to consider if it is possible that a certain degree of trust may be lost on request of consent to a DNA test for this purpose, or it may even upset those with parental responsibility, such as foster parents.

You may find it useful to seek independent advice or counselling for support on this issue.

How long does a DNA test take?

Whether or not you should take a DNA test may simply be a case of how much time you have available until you need the answers you require. The speed in which you will receive your results normally depends on what kind of DNA testing you require. Below are some examples of our DNA testing.

24 Hour Next Day DNA testing

With AlphaBiolabs’ DNA testing for Peace of Mind you will receive the results the next working day as standard. This means that if your sample is received by our laboratory before 10:00 am you will receive the results (via email) the next working day, without any hidden or additional charges for such a speedy service.

It is just for your own knowledge and cannot be used in court or for CSA cases, but if this is not needed it could be a cheaper and quicker alternative to court approved testing. This is especially so when you consider that it can be self-administered at your own convenience with our DNA testing kit (discreet packaging and instructions included) and offers rapid results as standard.

Legal DNA testing results

With AlphaBiolabs’ court approved DNA testing (legal testing) you will receive the results the next day as standard.

This is a great turnaround time if you need to get your results fast to meet strict case deadlines or court dates. You can get your results even quicker as we also provide Same Day DNA testing results as long as the sample is received by our laboratory before 10:00am. This is provided at an additional cost, but can help you reach the tightest of deadlines if required.

Free DNA Testing

It is important to take into consideration the total cost of DNA testing as some companies may seem tempting offering free home DNA testing kits, but then they may have a considerably high lab processing fee. The full process of DNA testing (including admin, kits or sample collection and laboratory time) can rarely ever be provided for free.

AlphaBiolabs makes all fees clear at the point of sale, whether they are additional fees or otherwise. It is important to choose the right DNA testing service for you, depending on the level of service you require throughout the whole process. With our UKAS ISO 17025 accreditation we provide the highest standard of testing, follow a strict chain of custody and remain 100% confidential.

We provide excellent speeds of service as standard (see above) and provide accurate DNA test results.

DNA Testing Child Age Limit

One thing to consider when DNA testing children is the child’s age. There is no age limit or minimum age that a child can take a DNA test, as the process uses painless mouth swabs for the sample collection process.

It is also possible to conduct a DNA test on an unborn child, with a paternity DNA test being performed while pregnant. However, with alternative methods being risky it is important that a non-invasive prenatal DNA test is chosen and that the sample collection is conducted after 8 weeks of pregnancy.

The impact of DNA testing

Although there is no age limit for the DNA testing of a child it is important to consider that DNA testing results may have significant effects on a number of people including the child and their siblings. DNA testing should be conducted with the children’s best interests in mind. If a child can understand the issues involved, their opinion should be taken into account when deciding whether or not the test is in their best interests, during a CSA DNA test for example.

It may also be important to consider the impact of sibling DNA tests, where test results reveal whether or not two children are half or full siblings.

The NHS website suggests that when considering DNA testing “it is important to use a company with high quality service and standards”. If you are unsure of what forms of impact DNA testing could have in your particular circumstances, then you can give AlphaBiolabs a call on 0333 600 1300 to ask any questions you may have regarding this subject.

If you do not wish to discuss the issues with a company before making the decision on whether or not you should take DNA test then it may be useful to seek independent advice or counselling.

Child Support Agency DNA test

DNA testing may settle disputes over child maintenance payments or over contact rights. Certain claims may be made of individuals when couples separate, especially if they do so on bad terms. The truth may become unclear as the element of trust may have been lost, so DNA testing could possibly be the only resolution or method of acquiring accurate answers for certain individuals.

It can be important for someone to know the truth as to whether they are the true biological parent of a child not just for their own knowledge but also due to financial reasons.

DNA testing can seem even more important when you consider that the Child Support Agency (CSA) presumes a man named by the mother is the father until it is proven otherwise by DNA testing. No matter how much a man claims the child is not his – if the mother names him as the father and he refuses to provide a DNA test sample to prove his contention – he will continue to have to pay child maintenance.

If a man takes a DNA test proving he is not the biological father after already paying child maintenance then this will be refunded if the test comes back negative.

The number of negative results from challenges to the CSA has been rising and is currently in excess of 19%. Therefore, it may be important that you take a DNA test if you are unsure as to whether you are the biological parent of a child (or adamant that you are not), especially if you need the money that would be spent on child maintenance to provide for your biological family.

Consent for DNA testing

In order to perform a DNA test for any purpose you need to get all the relevant consents. However, it is important to note that in legal cases if a person with parental responsibility refuses consent for a child to be tested – but the court considers the test is in the child’s best interests – the court may order the test to go ahead. This may also be the case if an alleged father or mother refuses their consent. In these cases, the courts are exempt from the consent clauses within the Human Tissue Act, in order to serve the best interests of the child.

Another situation when you can’t get direct consent is when an individual is deceased, such as when a family member has passed away. It is possible to get a DNA sample after death using either nail clippings or via a toothbrush DNA test. ‘Qualifying’ consent can often be given in these circumstances by next of kin.

Complex relationship DNA testing can also be performed on individuals that have passed away. such as:

  • Grandparent DNA testing
  • Aunt and Uncle DNA testing
  • Sibling testing
  • Extended family DNA testing

Further information on our range of DNA relationship tests can be found here.

DNA testing for ancestry

DNA testing can also be used for people who wish to discover their ancestry, they may then use this information to learn more about their heritage.

Should I take a DNA test?

If this webpage has helped you to make the decision to take a DNA test for one of the many purposes outlined above, or if you need more help and support, then please call our friendly Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300.