If you’re considering paternity testing, the consequences of the results can be life-changing. So making an informed decision on where and how to do the test is always a top concern. As a premier DNA testing lab, two of the first things people ask us are, ‘Is a home paternity test like yours just as accurate as one ordered through a doctor’s office, and what are the main differences?’ Let’s answer both questions.
Is a Home Paternity Test as Accurate as One Ordered through a Doctor’s Office?
Short Answer: YES.
Now the details. When a paternity test is ordered by a doctor, samples are collected in the same way you would do with a home paternity testing kit: using a painless cheek swab. Some doctors may still draw blood to collect DNA and order a test called RFLP), but drawing blood is invasive and painful. Besides, the RFLP is also largely obsolete now due to the rise of more inexpensive DNA extraction and analysis techniques; as a result, cheek swabs are the widespread collection method of choice. Since DNA for one person is the same in every cell in their body, the accuracy of a test performed with cheek cells is exactly the same as a blood sample.
As long as a user follows kit directions carefully, the quality of the cheek sample when collected at home is just as good as one collected by a doctor or lab.
What about the Quality of the DNA Testing Lab?
In an apples to apples comparison, the process for extracting and processing the DNA is the same at all AABB-accredited labs, whether you use a home paternity test or one ordered by your doctor. If you choose to go through a doctor for your paternity test, be sure to ask about the accreditations of the lab used by the practice.
As an example of competency and overall excellence of home paternity testing labs, our IDENTIGENE lab maintains the highest levels of accreditation possible. What this means is that you get the 100% accurate results you expect whether you pay $89 with IDENTIGENE or over $400 somewhere else.
Main Differences between a Home Paternity Test and a Doctor-ordered One
Home paternity testing: There’s no scenario more convenient or stress-free for participants than being able to swab their own cheeks and their child’s at home.
Doctor-ordered test: Participants generally must make a visit to an office, lab, or DNA sample collector’s location.
Home paternity testing: The lab cost for an IDENTIGENE test for one possible father and one child is $89.
Doctor-ordered test: Depending on what lab is used, the cost for paternity testing in either circumstance can be $400 or more.
Home paternity testing: When you do an at-home, peace-of-mind test, the results are not court-admissible; this is because the court cannot verify that all participants were who they said they were at the time of testing. For results to be court-admissible, a legal paternity test must be done, wherein participants’ IDs are checked and sample collection and mailing are supervised by a third-party witness. You can use an IDENTIGENE kit for court-admissible results by calling us ahead of time and making arrangements for a third-party witness.
Doctor-ordered test: When doctors order paternity testing, collection is generally supervised by a third-party witness, either in their office or at the lab. If legal test protocol is followed, then results are automatically court-admissible.
Comparing DNA Labs: Two Real-Life Customer Stories
Review on the Walmart Website
“Many people may be afraid to spend their money on such a product thinking that it is a scam. Well I am here to tell you that it is NOT a scam! Back in 2009, I found out I was pregnant and I knew that there were two possibilities. In July of 2009, I bought the Identigene home paternity test. I had no way of knowing if the results were accurate, but I ended up having to go through the child support office for a LEGAL test anyway and the results were identical. Well I find myself having to buy the Identigene test yet again. I didn’t hesitate this time because I already knew for a FACT that the tests were exactly what I expected them to be: ACCURATE.”
Review on the DNAtesting.com Website
“I took the home test and the results were negative. . . I was broken. I searched every website I could where people said that the results were wrong because I didn’t want to believe that the child was not mine. I decided to take a test with a reputable lab and spent $425 in addition to having paid for the Identigene test. After I got the second test back, I saw they were exactly the same. I thought before if Identigene is wrong I would expose them as frauds. Seriously, they are 100% accurate. If you are reading my review, this is a company that I didn’t trust after I got results I didn’t want. I found reviews from people who said they would get a second test and never posted the second test results. I promised myself I would do this to help someone else and if they were wrong I promised I would expose them. Here I am telling you, you can trust them.”
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“How Much Does a Paternity Test Cost? – CostHelper.com.” CostHelper. CostHelper, Inc., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <http://health.costhelper.com/paternity-test.html>.
“Paternity Tests: Blood Tests and DNA – FindLaw.” Findlaw. Thomson Reuters, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <http://family.findlaw.com/paternity/paternity-tests-blood-tests-and-dna.html>.
“Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_fragment_length_polymorphism>.