Home vs Legal DNA Testing

DNA testing is the most accurate and scientific way of solving relationship disputes and can confirm, with high levels of accuracy, whether two or more individuals are biologically related. Any relationship test, such as paternity testing or maternity testing can be carried out for peace of mind or for legal purposes. Understanding the difference between legal paternity testing and peace of mind paternity testing is very important and here is an explanation of the differences between two tests.

Results of a Paternity Test

The results of a paternity test, whether a legal or peace of mind one, will show exactly the same inclusion or exclusion probabilities.


  • If the tested, alleged father is the biological father, the results will show a probability of 99.99%
  • If the tested alleged father is not the biological father, the results will show a probability of 0%

Legal DNA Testing

A legal DNA test is suitable when results are need specifically for a court or legal related issues. This can include parentage disputes, changing the name on a birth certificate or immigration petitions. In a legal DNA test there are a few more steps you will need to follow. First of all we would need you to fill out application forms with the names and contact details of all of the participants. We would also need the name and address of the doctor(s) who are going to take the samples – this person is known as the sampler. The role of the sampler is extremely important – it is the sampler who ensures the “chain of custody” required for legal DNA testing is followed. If your own GP will not do this we can recommend a local doctor or arrange for a nurse to visit you home address (at extra cost). The completed forms then need to be returned to us. We then send the forms with the testing kit directly to the sampler. You will need to set an appointment with your sampler once they have received the kit and out forms. Once the samples have been collected and ID and photographs verified, the doctor or nurse will send the samples directly back to us – you are not allowed to have the samples in your possession at any time. This is so that we can prove the Chain of Custody of the samples to prove that they have not been tampered with in any way. We will then test the samples and have the results 4 working days after having received them back from the doctor or nurse. Then a few days later we will receive the legally notarised copy of the results from the laboratory which will be sent to you.

Note: Any fees by the sampler are not covered by GTL.

Peace of Mind Testing

We, at Genetic Testing Laboratories, have one simple rule of thumb which will help you decide whether you need a peace of mind test or a legal test. If you only have a lingering doubt that you might not be related to somebody or that you are not the biological father, it is best to begin by doing a peace of mind test. Once you have the results of a peace of mind test or home paternity test, you can decide whether you wish to take matters further, perhaps going to court to contest the parentage of the child.

A peace of mind test is a test that you can carry out in the privacy of your own home. You would order a testing kit online or by telephone and the kit will be sent to you. You do not need to provide any proof of identity for the participants of the test, but we will need signatures giving consent for the samples to be tested. You will take the samples yourself and return the samples to us for testing. Because there is no proof of identity required we cannot be certain who the samples were actually taken from, consequently this is the reason that the results can only be used for your own curiosity – because you are the only person who knows who the samples actually came from.

Results for a home test will be issued by email (a hard copy can be sent on request). These results are just for your personal knowledge or peace of mind. They have no legal validity and will not stand in court.

Types of DNA Tests

Home vs Legal Testing


Home testing Legal Testing
DNA testing company selected You can choose any company for your home paternity test. Ideally an ISO accredited laboratory would ensure the highest standards of laboratory procedures. For legally admissible court results only a laboratory that is listed on the Ministry of Justice website can be selected.
Sample collection Test participants need to collect DNA samples themselves. They are responsible of ensuring samples are collected well, following the steps provided in the instructions. The samples for a legal test must be collected by a sampler and a strict chain of custody needs to be followed. The test participants will not be able to handle their samples.
Documentation The only documentation required for a peace of mind test is the consent form. This form authorises the laboratory to test samples. By signing this form, test participants consent to testing. Legal testing requires more forms and paper work. Test participants will need to take photo IDS as well as copies of a chosen, valid form of identification.
Results Results are non-notarised and therefore, not court admissible. Results are notarised, therefore, court admissible.