DNA Testing FAQs

DNA testing is an increasingly common way of determining relationships between individuals, such as whether a man is the father of a child. Now available as home kits used for peace of mind DNA tests are also often used in court cases and to prove paternity in maintenance claims. But what exactly do they involve and how accurate are they? Here are some of the most common DNA Testing FAQs:

If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact our Customer Support Team who will be happy to assist you in complete confidence.

Q. What is a DNA Test?

DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid – is a chemical found in most of the cells in the human body and indeed all living organisms. DNA is responsible for storing information which is passed on from generation to generation. It is what determines what colour your eyes are, how tall you are – in fact, everything about your physical appearance and more.

As half of your DNA is passed on by your mother, and half by your father, it can be used to prove paternity and maternity, as well as other relationships.

Because DNA is found in almost every cell, it is present in a person’s saliva, blood, hair and fingernails and these are the samples most commonly used for DNA testing.

Q. How accurate is a paternity test?

Our paternity test uses 21 genetic markers for absolute peace of mind. Positive results are more than 99.99% accurate whilst negative results are 100% accurate.

Please click here for more information about Understanding DNA Test Results.

Q. How is a DNA test done?

Most DNA tests simply involve testing cheek cells. These cheek cells are collected by rubbing a mouth swab on the inside the cheeks of the person taking part in the test. This buccal swab – like a cotton bud, but bigger – painlessly collects cells from the inside of the mouth, from which DNA is extracted.

The swabs are then sealed in sample collection envelopes and sent off to the laboratory performing the test.

In certain cases, blood samples will be required, but this is not usually the case.

We also offer hair DNA testing and can use samples such as nail clippings, ear wax and semen. Please Contact Us for more information.

Q. Do you need the mother's permission to do a DNA test?

The father can give consent if he is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate, was married to the mother when the child was born or has a court order giving him parental responsibility. If none of these apply, then the mother MUST give consent.

If the father is legally entitled to give consent for the child to be tested, then we do not need a signature from the mother.

It is a criminal offence under the Human Tissue Act to have human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed, without the informed consent of the person from whom the tissue came. You can read more on our page about the 2004 Human Tissue Act.

If you are unsure of your ability to provide consent on behalf of a child please seek legal advice or Contact Us for more information before proceeding with a test.

Q. Do you need to test the mother in a paternity test?

Paternity tests are most accurate when the father, child and mother are all tested at the same time, but the mother’s DNA is not always required. Please visit our Paternity Testing page for more information.

Q. What happens to my DNA samples after you have tested them?

DNA samples used for peace of mind tests are destroyed after results have been issued. Samples used for a court admissible test are retained for 6 months after issuing results before being destroyed.

Our partner laboratory is inspected once a year for their ISO accreditation and every 2 years for their AABB accreditation. As part of these external assessments, individuals who are not associated with the laboratory review their procedures and processes. Part of these inspections include a review of their client retention policies and procedures regarding disposal of client data, which must be done in a way that protects client privacy.

Q. Are your kits discreet?

All our kits are sent out in plain white envelopes marked Private & Confidential. We do not put our company name or any branding on the outside to ensure absolute discretion.

Q. How soon after taking my samples do I need to send them back to you?

It is best to send the DNA samples back to us for testing as soon as possible after they have been collected. However, as long as our instructions are followed carefully, and mouth swabs are allowed to dry before being placed in the envelopes provided, they will keep for several weeks.

It is possible to store DNA samples for several years if required – please see our DNA Storage service for more information.