Are you planning on doing a DNA paternity test soon? These days, picking up a kit is as easy as going to your local store or shopping online at your favorite pharmacy chain, independent drugstore, or superstore.
The results of a paternity test are often life-changing and you’re probably a little nervous, so it’s essential that you do your homework beforehand about whether or not you’ve got the right test for your needs and then how to do it correctly. Here are 5 essential tips for acing that all-important paternity test.
Paternity Test Tip #1: Choose the Right Test
The paternity test kit you purchase at the store contains three sets of special DNA-collection swabs: one set each for the child, possible father, and mother. The lab fee printed on the outside of the box reflects the price for testing these three individuals only.
If the possible father isn’t available for testing
If the possible father is deceased or otherwise unavailable to test, then a straight paternity test is no longer an option: what you need is The DNA lab can test other relatives of the possible father (such as one or both of his parents, a sibling, or other known children) to establish or discount a paternal relationship. This is called “relationship testing” or “family reconstruction testing.”
Keep in mind that the cost of this type of testing to determine paternity is higher due to the more extensive analysis involved, and the participation of the child’s mother is highly recommended in order to get conclusive results. It’s definitely more cost-effective if the possible father can participate in a straight paternity test.
If this is what you need, contact our lab directly to set up the test.
Paternity Test Tip #2: Consider how you’re going to use Results
Do you just want paternity results just for your own information or do you anticipate needing to use those results in court someday?
Peace of mind only
When you collect DNA at home, results are most likely not court-admissible. This is because the court has no way of knowing if DNA samples tested belong to who participants claim they do. But if you aren’t going to court, then doing the test at home works just fine: the testing process is exactly the same as it is for court-admissible testing and you can trust results.
Child support, child custody, immigration, inheritance rights
If you need paternity test results for any of the legal reasons listed above, then DNA collection and submission of samples for testing must be witnessed by an approved third-party in order to stand up in court. You cannot get legal results from an at-home kit you buy at the store; the test must be set arranged by the lab. Setting up this test is super-easy: Our DNA lab arranges for the assistance of a witness where you live and you just pay an extra fee for this service. If this is what you need, contact our lab directly to set up the test.
Paternity Test Tip #3: Follow Kit Directions Carefully
An at-home paternity test kit contains instructions on how to perform the swabbing and how to handle swabs before and after DNA collection. Take the time to read through all instructions thoroughly before swabbing to help mitigate the chance of sample contamination and/or delays because collection wasn’t done correctly.Why are swabs with DNA stored in paper envelopes and not in tubes? DNA is organic material and is therefore subject to growing mold over time. Storing and mailing swabs with DNA in paper envelopes allows the samples to “breathe” and therefore reduces the chances of mold growth. If swabs seem a little too “wet” to put in paper envelopes immediately, simply wave them in the air for about 60 seconds and then put them in the paper envelopes included in the kit.
Are you in a hurry?
For your convenience, a postage-paid envelope is included in the kit. But keep in mind that if you send samples via this method, it can take 5-10 business days for DNA to arrive at the lab. You can expedite the process by sending samples in via first-class mail or other service such as FedEx or UPS.
Paternity Test Tip #4: When Collecting DNA, Supervise Each Other
If at all possible, it’s highly recommended that all participants in the paternity test be in the same room when collecting their DNA. Supervise each other during the swabbing and go to the post office together to make the drop-off once collection is done. Following this simple process keeps the honest honest and greatly decreases the chance of paternity fraud.
If participants live in different states or if there is reason to believe one of the participants might try to “cheat” the test, then insist on getting a witnessed test instead of testing at home—even if you don’t plan on using results in court. Paying a little extra money for an impartial witness is worth the peace of mind!
Paternity Test Tip #5: Choose an Accredited Lab
Why trust something as important as your paternity test to any lab but the best? Only choose a lab like ours that maintains the highest levels of accreditation. This ensures your samples will be properly handled, tested correctly, and analyzed by professionals. Our lab’s testing processes are exactly the same as those done for court-ordered tests, and our consistent 5-star reviews speak for themselves, so you can be sure you are in good hands.
The Bottom Line
Follow these tips and you’re sure to ace that all-important paternity test: Choose the right test for your needs, consider how you need to use results, follow all kit directions, supervise each other’s DNA sample collections, and only go with an accredited lab.
Can you think of other tips? Share in the comments!
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