How does your parental DNA test work?
A child inherits their DNA from their mother’s egg, containing 23 chromosomes, and the father’s sperm, also containing 23 chromosomes. Therefore each contributing parent determines half of the child’s DNA. The child (and any human) has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Every location (“locus” – plural “loci”) in a chromosome pair has a specific DNA sequence for every chromosome. A parental DNA test identifies the DNA sequences specifically for multiple loci in the mother, child, and father. If the mother and father are confirmed as the parents of the child, the DNA sequences at each locus of the child’s chromosomes must have been inherited from each parent. Determining paternity and maternity is possible from these DNA sequences. For more information, see Understanding a Paternity Test Report.
Where do the DNA tests take place?
Sample collection for a home paternity test takes place in the ease and comfort of your own home using our sample collection kit. In cases of legal or immigration testing, samples may be collected at the nearest embassy, consulate or medical clinic, depending on your case.
What accreditation criteria do you use to make sure DNA tests are performed correctly and DNA test or paternity test results are accurate?
At GTL all our DNA testing is performed by an internationally accredited DNA testing laboratory. All processes are governed by strict quality policies designed to ensure the most accurate results possible. GTL offer a Paternity Test Accuracy Guarantee and as a respected DNA testing facility, we adopt specific practices to protect against any tampering of collected samples and subscribe to always maintaining the confidentiality of our customers.
Is there a difference between an accredited and an unaccredited DNA test?
GTL have addressed this very concern by producing a dedicated article on Why DNA Accreditation is Important.
How are Court Approved DNA tests different from Peace of Mind DNA testing?
The laboratory testing processes for Court Approved and Peace of Mind DNA tests are exactly the same. The difference is that Court Approved tests require a witness, proof of identity and special chain of custody procedures. The informational or Peace of Mind DNA Test is not legally binding because there is no proof that samples have been collected from the correct participants.The Peace of Mind test is intended to be a discreet and private way of allowing families to resolve any questions without involving other parties. The Court Approved DNA tests require that an independent witness, such as a GP or health professional, oversees the sample collection process and is able to verify photo ID and maintain chain of custody.
To read more about the differences between legal testing and peace of mind tested, click here.
What is buccal swabbing?
A buccal swab refers to a process whereby a sample of cheek cells is collected by simply rubbing a swab, similar to a cotton wool bud, on the inside of the cheeks.
Prior to sample collection though, a person should abstain from drinking all drinks for 1 hour before sample collection. You may only drink water. Smokers should rinse and brush their cheeks with a toothbrush before swabbing.
Does the mother need to take part in a paternity DNA test?
When it is something as important as establishing the paternity of a child, particularly legal DNA test cases, it is not wise to leave any room for uncertainty. In an ideal situation the mother, child and alleged father should all be tested.
A child inherits half their DNA from their mother and the other half from their father. As the DNA the child inherits from the mother will match the mother’s DNA exactly, the remaining unmatched DNA will match that of the biological father.
Without being able to remove the mother’s DNA from the equation there is a chance that results will not be conclusive, which may require additional genetic marker testing, therefore extending the time and cost needed to achieve conclusive results.
In general, if the mother is available for testing, samples should be collected. Either way, the testing can still be performed and accurate results can be achieved without a sample from the mother.
Can I test more than one child or alleged parent?
Additional family members can be included in tests. There will be an additional fee for every additional member. Other fees may apply if nonstandard samples are used. View our list of nonstandard samples here.
Does a child need to be a certain age to perform a DNA paternity test?
A newborn baby can be tested. Using a buccal swab to collect a sample is painless and is not traumatic for the child.
If you wish to test paternity before birth, please see more information on our Prenatal Paternity Test page.
Once the test has been conducted, what happens to my DNA samples?
For informational or Peace of Mind DNA tests, the samples you submitted to us are destroyed immediately following the release of your results. Should you wish us to retain your DNA samples for longer, we are able to archive them for up to six months subject to payment of an additional fee. If you would like us to archive your DNA samples, please contact us.
How accurate are DNA paternity test results?
DNA testing is the most accurate method available to establish paternity. Its power is found in its ability to trace the pattern of inheritance for separate regions of the genetic material (chromosomes). From this information, it is possible to calculate a probability of paternity. This number can reach 99.99999% in some cases. The percentage of random men of the same race that can be excluded as the biological father is also computed for every case. Some companies test fewer chromosomal locations for the same price (or more) that GTL charge for 21 (20 identity markers plus one to confirm the sex of the person being tested). However, the statistics generated with fewer locations are not nearly as conclusive and in some cases can result in wrong conclusions, such as the father being excluded when, in fact, he is the true biological father.
What is the GTL Accuracy Guarantee for DNA Paternity Test results?
Our Accuracy Guarantee promises such results due to the accuracy of our tests and the standards that the testing laboratory adhere to during the testing process.Genetic Testing Laboratories work with accredited laboratories that are ISO 17025 accredited.
How long do results take to produce?
The turnaround time depends on the type of test you require. Paternity test results take between 3-5 working days whilst X chromosome test results take 12 working days. GTL offers an express testing service on some of its tests which allow clients to get their DNA test results in less time. This service comes at an additional fee.
How will my DNA test results be received?
Results are sent by email. This is included in the cost of your test. If you wish to have a hard copy of your results, we may provide these at a small additional fee.
How do I make sense of my DNA test report?
For the majority of cases, test results produce a definitive result. The alleged father is either ‘excluded’ or ‘not excluded’ as the child’s biological father.
Each of the 20 identity loci are analysed indiviudally to calculate a paternity index and all the separate indexes are combined to calculate a ‘combined paternity index’.
For more information, please see our Understanding Paternity Test Results page.
What is the Combined Paternity Index?
The Paternity Index is a number that represents the likelihood of paternity. This number is calculated based on how common the genetic information found in your test result is within your race population.The Paternity Indices for each genetic locus tested are used to calculate a Combined Paternity Index (CPI) which can result in a 99.999% probability of paternity, or even higher in the case of a true match. For example, if the CPI is 9,999,987 it means the odds of the tested father being the unique biological father are 9,999,987 to 1.
Can my DNA test results be used in a court case?
Yes, providing you purchase a Court Approved DNA test. The Court Approved DNA tests have additional proof of identity and chain of custody requirements made possible by having your GP or health professional witness the DNA sampling procedure and verify photo ID. Careful records are maintained on every sample processed and DNA test results should be admissible in a court of law.
Are the DNA test results confidential?
All DNA test results are held in strictest confidence and released only to you. In addition, the information produced from testing the 20 identity loci only relate to identity and do not reveal any supplementary information of medical relevance.
Can my DNA Test Kit be sent to me discreetly?
DNA tests can obviously be of a sensitive nature and we are more than aware of this. All our DNA sampling kits are sent out in the post in plain envelopes marked Private & Confidential and with no branding on them, so it will look like a normal letter.
What comes in the Home DNA or Paternity Test Kit?
The Home DNA Testing Kit contains detailed instructions and a consent form to be completed with information about each family member providing a DNA sample. Apart from infants and very young children, each person collects his or her own samples. The collection process is simple. Buccal sampling should take about 15 minutes for 3 people, and you need to allow an additional 30 minutes for the swabs to dry. The samples need to be placed in their own clearly labeled sample collection envelopes. All of the DNA samples and consent forms for those involved then need to be placed in the included return envelope and sent back to our laboratory by Recorded or Special Delivery
I cannot afford a DNA test, what options do I have?
We are uaware that there are many social cases out there where people actually need a DNA but are unable to afford it. The NHS (The National Health Service) does not provide free DNA testing and there are very few privately owned companies that offer free of partially subsidised DNA tests. The Genetic Testing Laboratories does however have a fund set up which can help people needing a DNA test but unable to afford one explore their options. In some cases, GTL may actually pay for the test or part fund it, depending on the case presented. We suggest you read more about our Helping Hand Fund and apply if interested.