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Paternity and Sperm Donors

Sperm donation is a topic that has divided national and international opinion on both sides of the fence. The act of a man donating sperm creates a situation in which couples with fertility problems raise the child(ren) of the donated sperm. This kind of solution can be a blessing to childless families, but it also often sparks an emotional and moral debate over the role of the sperm donor to his eventual biological child. There is a chance that the child in later life will be confused by the fact that there is a relationship between DNA testing and the father.

Both sides of the issue have compelling points.

One argument considers a children right to see both of his or her biological parents, regardless of other factors. Some people think that the natural connection is stronger than anything that can be created, and that both the parent and child have a right to maintain contact with one another. Nevertheless, this perspective has been challenged by several strong arguments. First of all, in the context of sperm donation, this creates a lot of policy problems. Few people would say that it is a good thing to be able to track down a sperm donor. Sperm donation does not mean that a man has to be a father. For fear that this may disrupt the family unit and hinder the children upbringing, it is best that the sperm donor has no direct link to the child.

Moreover, the influential Hohfeld schema, which is based on a judicial context, suggests that rights correlate directly with responsibilities. What then are the responsibilities of a sperm donor, compared to his rights? There is a genetic link, but there is no paternal link. The sperm donor is already taking care of that part, so he has nothing to contribute aside from his common genetic materials.

The idea is that children should be allowed to grow up with their families and that biological relationships through sperm donation should be kept secret for policy reasons and to prevent problems later in life. However to counter this, why shouldn’t a child’s biological father have the right to contact and access, if not at a distance, with his child? Since the father and child share the same genes, it is possible to use DNA testing to determine whether the child will be subject to the same medical problems or temperament issues. This could be beneficial in treating illnesses.

The issue of sperm donor anonymity and DNA paternity testing.

A sperm donators anonymity could be further jeopardized by a DNA paternity test since it will confirm who the biological father is of the child. Is this right? In a case having national importance we were recently involved with, does a child have the right to compel a sperm donor to give up the right to remain anonymous? When a donor has a family, the disruption to their family should be considered prior to contact. Most donor sites promise that the information on the man donating will be kept confidential. The only time this should be able to be violated is with a court order, and in our opinion, that order only in the even of criminal intent on the part of the donor, or to save the life of the child.

The debate over the rights and responsibilities of the sperm donator in relation to his biological child is going to continue for many years to come.

Post-Mortem DNA Testing

Can I Do A Paternity Test If The Alleged Father Is Dead?

Can I Do A Paternity Test If the Father Is Deceased? The answer is “yes.”

DNA relationship testing is the most accurate method of confirming a biological relationship exists between two people. The most commonly used DNA test is a direct paternity test. In this test an alleged father’s genetic profile is created and compared to that of a child. The result will confirm whether or not he is the biological father of a child. The test is very easy to do, as it only requires rubbing swabs (buccal) on the inside of the mouth and sending it to our laboratory for analysis.

However, we understand that there are situations where the alleged father is no longer available for voluntary testing due to the fact he is deceased. Often, the first thought of those facing this situation is that paternity can now never be established conclusively. This would not be accurate.

There are a number of options possible for confirming if the deceased is the biological father of one or more children. It may be possible to still obtain a DNA sample from the deceased. If not, then you can also consider using a DNA relationship test. These DNA comparisons are similar to a DNA paternity test, but instead it uses DNA testing of close members of the family to confirm various types of relationships. The options include a DNA sibling test, a grandparent DNA test, or an avuncular DNA test with uses a uncle/aunt and suspected niece(s)/nephew(s).

In case of the death of a suspected father, lets look at three separate instances and what you can to do in these situations:

Scenario 1: If death has very recently occurred it may still be possible to collect a biological sample from the body (usually this period is not more than 3-5 days from time of death). If the body has been take to a funeral home, we recommended that a licensed funeral director tries to obtain (where possible) a mouth swab sample. If this is not possible, hair samples with root as well as fingernail cuttings may be able to be used. If the DNA test is wanted for legal reasons, a funeral director can also complete a chain of custody for this type of collection.

Scenario 2: If an autopsy was performed by a licensed Medical Examiner (M.E.), and either a blood or tissue sample was kept (which is more common that you may think), the next of kin can contact the M.E. and ask if they would release that sample for DNA testing. This is done using a chain of custody. We regularly work with this type of situation.

Scenario 3: In the event that the body has already been buried, samples may be obtained in an indirect manner – for example through a toothbrush, comb (might contain useful hairs), dentures, or recently smoked cigarette butts. These samples are all likely to contain DNA material that can be used to perform the test. However, success in obtaining DNA from such non-standard DNA samples depend on a number of factors most importantly the condition of the sample.

These are some of the most commonly used options available. Most importantly is the ability to obtain a DNA specimen from the deceased person that may contain DNA. The costs and difficulties in obtaining a sample in Scenario 2 may be higher than simply obtaining some hair or fingernails from the body. However, each case is unique and if you find yourself in this situation, we suggest you contact a Genetic Consultant at 1-855-362-5224 to discuss your situation in detail.

DNA Testing With Hair

paternity test using hair

DNA Testing With Hair

We are often asked if a paternity test with hair? The simple answer is “Yes.” Often an suspected father, mother, or adult child may want to perform a paternity test with hair, when the other party refuses to perform a paternity test, or they want to do DNA testing in a more discreet manner.

A paternity t est, sibling DNA test, grandparent DNA test, and avuncular DNA test can all be done using hair, and other non-standard samples. However, just submitting hair does not guarantee that the hair specimen will be able to have enough DNA to create the necessary genetic profile.

So if you are thinking about using hair for DNA testing, here is information that is important to know.

How much hair is needed for a DNA test?

In order to do a hair DNA test, the lab will need between 7 to 10 individual strands. These strands must have the hair follicles (roots)intact. The hair stands should always be removed from a brush or comb by the person sending the hair for examination. We strongly recommend that the hair be placed in a regular paper envelope for storage at room temperature. Any type of item that is being studied for genetic testing should never be placed in a plastic baggie, as bacteria can more easily form in that type of environment. Securely storing the item(s) in a paper envelope allows it to “breathe” while protecting it. This allows for the greatest possibility of success.

TV shows like CSI show DNA from any piece of hair. Why can’t I use hair that is cut?

Some shows make great entertainment, but are not always practical in real life.

Hair is composed of a protein known as Keratin. The structure of the hair is composed of three layers as follows:

Cortex
Cuticle
Medulla

Hair color is due to specific pigments including melanin. The absence of pigment makes hair white. The structure of the actual hair strand does not contain any cells. Nucleated DNA, the DNA necessary for a paternity test is only found in the root of the hair and not in the shaft. Therefore none of the above layers contain the DNA required for a paternity test.

How can I tell if the root is still attached?

You will need to closely examine the hair strand. It can be seen as a small bulb at the end of the hair. You may need to check using glasses or a magnifying glass if you are uncertain. We lose about 100 hairs every day just from our scalp, however, we do not shed them with the root attached.

Since the hair specimens are collected at home, with no objective proof of who they came from, results of this type of DNA tests cannot be used in court. That does not mean the findings of the DNA test are no accurate. On the contrary, once a DNA profile is generated, our results are 100% accurate. It only means the report is not likely to be accepted in court.

Step-by-step instructions for collecting hair for DNA:

  1. If you are collecting the hair from a brush or comb, make certain the roots are attached. If you are obtaining them directly from a person, pull seven – ten hairs from the head, eyebrow, underarm, or pubic area.
  2. Use tweezers to grasp the hair. If pulling from the head, the hairs can be pulled out with one quick, swift motion. Try to pull thicker hairs if possible.
  3. NEVER touch the end of the hair where it was attached tithe skin (the hair root). The hair root (small clump of skin cells) must be attached to the end of the hair after it is pulled from the brush or body. Please ensure the hair did not break, but was pulled out completely.
  4. Remember not to touch this end of the hair. Use latex gloves if they are available. Place the hair into a paper envelope. Label the envelope with the date and the name of the person (however you want to identify the sample, as long as you know whose hair specimen it is.

Hair in a paper envelope, stored at room temperature, can last for a long time, sometimes even years. Do not let anything come in contact with the hair to maintain the highest chance of viability.

Once the hair sample is received at the lab, a viability test will be conducted. From the viability test a DNA profile will be developed and compared to one or mother other individuals. Hair DNA testing can be done for one person, or for everyone being tested. Most labs will charge an additional fee per non-standard samples as additional work will be done.

Can My DNA Be Tested Without My Knowledge?

Can My DNA Be Tested Without My Knowledge?

Imagine suddenly receiving a letter and a copy of the DNA report that states the man you thought to be your biological father, isn’t! You contact him and he says he never gave his permission for his DNA to be tested. And then he asks, “can someone do that?” This happens all the time – grandparents test their grandchildren to be certain they are biologically related, mother’s send in a DNA sample of the child and another man suspected of being the true biological father, a father sends in a DNA sample from his child without the mother knowing, to make certain the child is his. With the rise in accuracy of DNA testing, the questions that used to be family gossip, can know be answered in just a couple of days.

What about the legality of sending in someone’s DNA to be tested without them knowing about it? It is not our intent to address the ethical issues surrounding this question, as there are valid arguments on both sides. What we do want to remind you is that when questions arise that require a DNA test to verify a relationship, emotions run high and these questions are not usually able to be put to rest until an answer is provided to person seeking to know the truth.

Regarding the question that is often asked about the legality of such testing, to the best of our knowledge, there is no specific law in the United States prohibiting a DNA test from being performed without a person’s consent, or in the case of a child, the consent of a legal guardian. However, the only DNA tests that can be performed without consent are private, also known as “peace of mind,” DNA tests. DNA testing results that are to be submitted as evidence in court, or for any legal purpose, which are done to prove a specific biological relationship, do require consent by the person being tested, or by the legal guardian for a minor child.

When a DNA mouth swab sample can’t be obtained for testing, as is often the case when requesting a DNA test without another person’s knowledge, the use of non-standard, or alternative DNA samples, are often used. Items like toothbrushes, hair strands with the roots attached, ear wax, cigarette butts, and many other items are often used for discreet testing without the other person aware that the testing is being done. Whether the items are gathered at home, or by a professional investigator, close to one out of every fifteen DNA paternity and relationship tests use something other than a mouth swab for DNA.

The answers these tests provide are important to those who are wanting to do the DNA testing. The results from the DNA comparison usually put all doubt to rest, and save uncomfortable, or hurtful, conversations in many cases. In the case of testing done through Journey Genetic Testing, there is no need to be concerned that any person’s DNA we use to do the testing, with or without consent, that it will ever be shared with anyone else. or find it’s way into any government database, or sold for research, as all samples and information are removed 30 days after the results are delivered.

If you ever find yourself faced with a report that states you are, or are not, related and you didn’t know your DNA was tested, we suggest you make certain the DNA markers listed are actually yours. You can have an individual DNA profile done by submitting mouth swabs, and then compare those findings. If they are yours, they will match exactly. If it isn’t your DNA, there will be differences.

Remember, the truth should always be available to everyone about their family relationships, no matter how that truth comes about.

Can a DNA test determine if siblings have the same father?

Can a DNA test determine if siblings have the same father?

The question we hear the most often is “can a DNA test determine if siblings have the same father?” The answer is YES! And with 100% accuracy.

sibling DNA testing - full or half sibling
100% Accurate Sibling DNA Test

Most of the time a sibling DNA test is done for the specific reason to determine paternity. Paternity testing determines whether or not the two, or more, individuals have the same biological father.

Yes! Most of the time a sibling DNA test is done to determine paternity. Paternity testing determines whether or not the two, or more, individuals have the same biological father. Maybe times the possible father has died, or he may be incarcerated, or is unwilling or otherwise unavailable to take a paternity test. These are the situations that sibling DNA testing was designed for.

A sibling test is usually done to put a person’s mind at ease, as the question about who the biological father is does not really go away until it is answered. However, there are also times that sibling test can be done to determine if a biological father is the same between two or more people for legal reasons. Because a legal sibling DNA test is highly accurate, the results can be used to establish a paternal relationship of children, by a mother, to obtain Social Security survivor benefits for their child. In such cases, the biological father of one child is undisputed and the mother needs to prove that the other child has the same father. Sibling DNA tests are also frequently performed to provide evidence of biological relationship for U.S. immigration applications. In rare cases, such as those where a child was given up for adoption, a sibling test may also be performed to address whether another individual has the same biological mother, known as a maternal sibling test.

Only companies whose sibling testing provides the same answer on a sibling DNA results report, whether the test was done for private reasons or legal reasons, should be used to ensure the results are accurate .

Two type of sibling test exist:

Full Siblings or Half Siblings? In this sibling test, we are determining if two siblings who have the same mother also have the same father. The DNA of two individuals with the same biological mother are compared to determine the probability that they have the same biological father. For these tests, it is always helpful when samples from the biological mother are included to also be tested. This enables the lab to determine exactly which genes the two children inherited from their biological father and thereby greatly increases the conclusiveness of the test.

Half Siblings vs. Unrelated? In these sibling tests, the DNA of two individuals with different biological mothers is compared to determine the likelihood that they have the same biological father. For these tests, we recommend that samples from one biological mother (it does not matter which one) be tested if possible. This enables the lab to determine exactly which genes the two children inherited from their biological father(s) and thereby greatly increases the strength of the test.

When the suspected father is not available, and you need to know the answer as to who your biological father is, you can be assured that a sibling DNA test is one option that is accurate and easy to do.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing

Can You Trust The Results From An Ancestry Test?

Can You Trust The Results From An Ancestry Test? Learn the truth about ancestry testing

The truth about ancestry testing is something you need to know. If you have recently received results from one of the many popular ancestry testing companies, you may be facing some questions you are earnestly seeking answers to. If your ethnic profile came back different than what you have been told, you may begin to wonder if you are really part of the family you thought you were (Am I adopted? – Do I have a different father? – Is my sibling really my sibling? – Do I have other family I didn’t know about?). These are common questions and ones you have a right to an answer to.

Journey Genetic Testing is here to help you on your path to understanding your true family relationships. Sometimes an ancestry report may suggest that you have a different father that you thought, in which case you are thinking about a paternity test. Or maybe the report you received indicates you have a half sibling you didn’t know about, in which case you are learning about a half sibling DNA test.

Our company has performed DNA testing for thousands of people with the same questions as you have. However, before we go down this road together, please read the following information to help you understand how we are different from the testing you took through the ancestry companies.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing. How accurate are ancestry tests when it comes to determining ethnicity and genealogy?

The companies selling these services don’t share their data, and their methods are not validated by an independent group of scientists. There are not agreed-upon standards of accuracy. People have sent their DNA to several of these companies and found differences in the results—though not necessarily radical differences. So you have to look at the percentages you receive back with skepticism.

In comparison our affiliated DNA testing laboratories are AABB accredited. That means there is a standardized methodology and testing protocol followed by the labs. The testing and labs each undergo an intensive review of their procedures and policies annually to be certain they are in compliance. AABB accredited labs are the only facilities that can conduct DNA testing that is court admissible, due to their high standards. The results we deliver for home testing follow the exact same process, and has the same results, as our legally admissible tests do, however the collection process is different, so they are not generally accepted for legal purposes.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing. Why do the tests return different results?

Each company offering these services uses its own proprietary database of DNA samples called ancestry informative markers (AIMs) from current populations in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. From within those databases, they each select for a certain number of alleles—one member of a pair of genes located at a specific position on a specific chromosome—and in these spots, use the genetic variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as the basis for evaluating individuals. The markers—SNPs—are chosen because they have different frequencies across different geographical populations.

They compare SNPs with those most frequently associated with different populations in their reference database. The results are in no way definitive; instead each company uses common genetic variations as the basis for saying the probability is that 50 percent of your DNA is, for example, from North Europe and 30 percent is from Asia, based on how it compares to the information in its database. However, if you send DNA to a second company, you might get different results, because it has a different database. Studies that have compared ancestry databases have found poorer concordance with Hispanic, East Asian, and South Asian descent.

Some of the companies selling these testing services give you the option of learning about people who have similar SNPs to you, which may be why you have found us on your Journey. You can get a list of people who may appear to be part of your larger family ancestry, but that does not mean it is accurate, in large part because there is not a database of every single person’s DNA who is currently living, as well as at least two generations back.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing. What difference does it matter if the DNA testing process is not the same?

To compare our testing process with the process described above would be like comparing apples and oranges. Both test DNA, but have a different “taste.” Our testing process is STR (short tandem repeat) testing where we compare the DNA directly from two or more individuals to make a determination on their suspected relationship. Rather than suggesting the same person may be your uncle, your grandfather, a half sibling, or a cousin (all at the same time!), STR testing allows us to focus on the specific relationship in question with the DNA directly from those testing, for a reliable and accurate understanding of the likelihood of their relationship.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing. What else might make the results from an ancestry company inaccurate?

There’s a big chunk of data—actually the majority—that these genetics-testing services don’t use. Your DNA contains millions of SNPs, but these tests are selectively looking at certain genetic variations and use between 100 to 300 AIMs, which account for a small part of the SNPs that differentiate the human family. So even if a test says you are 50 percent European, really it can only report that half of those SNPs of your DNA looks to be European.

The results are further skewed by the fact that certain ancestry information markers used by any particular test may come from only your paternal line (Y chromosome) or your maternal line (mitochondrial DNA). Tests using these markers are less accurate.

In contrast, STR testing looks at genetic material from both the biological mother and father that was passed on to each of the specific people testing.

Finally, these testing services use DNA from modern populations in these regions to draw conclusions about people who lived in those areas hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago. It’s a big leap to assume that the particular SNPs used by the tests have remained constant for all that time.

You should understand that you are not matching your DNA to someone from hundreds of years ago. It’s also quite possible for someone who is African American to get ancestry test results that say they’re 75 percent European. That’s because the chosen ancestry-information markers reflect only a small percentage of our DNA, and there’s actually more genetic diversity within the African population than between the African population and a European population.

Why is your test most expensive than the ancestry test?

The companies offering these tests largely make their money not from doing the tests, but from selling the genetic information to other companies interested in having access to large genetic databases. Almost 50 percent of the firms that sell you your ancestry information turn around and sell your genetic information to some other company. That’s a big reason you see these test kits advertised as such low prices. They know they will monetize your information and profit heavily from your personal information.

Often these are pharmaceutical companies trying to understand how variations in certain sections of the human genome may be useful in drug development. (Certain drugs may not function as well in a person carrying certain mutations, so the companies want to find the frequency of these mutations in the population.) The vast majority of companies that offer ancestry tests hold onto your sample or sell it. So it’s not just the data, but your actual your saliva, that’s being shopped around.

Can I request my information be provided to GedMatch or another genealogy website after the testing?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. This is due to two reasons: First, STR testing does not produce “raw data” to upload. It is looking at 24 very specific genetic markers. The information used is not compatible. Second, we do not believe in sharing anyone’s person DNA information to anyone but them. Our privacy policy is the strictest of all DNA companies that we know of.

Many of the companies have privacy policies that state they can be changed at any time without notifying previous signers. In effect, you need to keep in contact with the company and keep yourself up-to-date on its policy. How many people are going to do that?

There’s also a lot of concern that even though your name is not listed on the database, when the data is sold to somebody, the records can be de-anonymized. It has happened before—people have been able to take genetic information with no name on it and, through other databases, find the name associated with that genetic material. Journey Genetic Testing NEVER sells your data, or uses it for any other purpose. All information is deleted from our company system 30 days after your results are delivered. Nothing is ever provided to any private tor government database.

The Truth About Ancestry Testing. Our Conclusion

Discrepancies in ancestry company’s testing process don’t mean that genetic science is a fraud, and that the companies are just making up these numbers. They have more to do with the limitations of the science and some key assumptions companies make when analyzing DNA for ancestry.

What’s not always obvious from these reports is that they’re based on estimates that can vary from company to company, and have built-in sources of error. Your results from one company can change over time as the company signs up more users, and gathers more data. This means that once the information changes, the people that you may be related to may change as well. That may be an unpleasant (or pleasant!) surprise.

To be certain that a relationship you are wondering about is real and exists, you should perform STR testing for the most accurate answers. Just be prepared that someone you are testing against that has been listed as a POSSIBLE relative, may be found through accredited testing to not be related in the way you think they are.

Do You Need A Legal Paternity Test?

Do I Need A Legal Paternity Test?

legal paternity test legal dna test

Home DNA tests may be more accessible and affordable, but the results may not be legally acknowledged in court because they can be easily tampered with since there is no chain of custody procedure involved to confirm the identity of the participating parties. The remedy is therefore to go for a court admissible paternity test – this may sound more complicated than home DNA tests, but it’s still a relatively straightforward process.

Once the court imposes a DNA test, what you should do is order a legal paternity test. After the test order has been reviewed, an appointment with an approved DNA collector in your area (based on zip code) will be scheduled. The DNA specimen collection will need to be performed by an authorized third party to verify the identity of the donors. During the sampling process, government issued picture identification documents will be required, and photocopied. At no point in the process are the participants allowed to have any access to the testing kit. The DNA collector will ensure the samples are properly collected, sealed and sent directly to the laboratory for testing. Upon receipt, the laboratory will ensure the samples are sealed and that they chain of custody has been preserved. Then testing will begin, and an official result is issued. This procedure ensures none of the participants can dispute the result.

It is not possible to force a person to take a DNA paternity test without intervention by the Court, or other authorized agency. Even when a court orders the test to be performed it is still possible for the one of the parties to refuse – with all the legal ramifications that come with it. So essentially for the benefit of the child and clarity, it is always recommended that participants willingly submit to the testing, and save a lot of stress and unexpense all-round.

And once the test has been ordered by the Court then it is important to make sure to go to an accredited testing facility for your court admissible DNA test. Experienced providers such as Journey Genetic Testing will have the necessary technical, scientific and support structures, including collection points across the US, to meet all your DNA testing needs and make the whole process as stress free as possible.

Can A DNA Test Sample Be Contaminated?

Contaminated DNA Samples – How To Avoid This Issue

contaminated DNA sample

Home DNA paternity tests are very common in today’s society. For a reasonable price you can determine the legitimacy of a father in question and determine if they are the real biological father of a child. However, the problem with using those home testing kits is that there is a slight chance that you one of the people testing can, either on purpose or by accident, end up with a contaminated DNA sample.

The home DNA paternity test will be supplied to you by the company of your choosing. This testing kit should come equipped with everything that you need, including a detailed guide, to ensure that you have an accurate result from your samples. Once you are done collecting the samples, you are then tasked to send the swab sample back to the company as soon as possible. That whole process should be taken under strict guidelines to prevent any unnecessary contamination.

DNA is commonly collected using a cheek swab method. The process would involve you swabbing the inside of your mouth to collect the cheek samples embedded inside your saliva. This entire process of forcefully swabbing the inside of your cheek should only take around 30 seconds to a minute. In fact, cheek swabs are considered to be equally effective as DNA blood testing.

Although, you can still run the risk of contaminating the substance with various activities that could result in your sample being inconclusive. A single error in your sample DNA could potentially end up rejecting the DNA comparison or could even fail in total. Avoid these potentially contaminated activities.

Ingesting Or Placing Anything In Your Mouth Before Taking The Test

A home DNA paternity test would normally require the participants to conduct a cheek swab sample. This simple but effective method of acquiring DNA is something that everyone can do at home without any sort of issues. But is it as fool-proof as they claim?

The problem that could arise from taking a swab test is from people who smoke. Although the act of smoking does not technically cause your cheek swab samples to fail, you still need to refrain from taking a cigarette at least 1 to 2 hours before taking the swab test. Any form of smoking could potentially degrade the quality of your sample or even cause the test itself to be contaminated, rendering your sample as a failure.

In addition, you need to pay attention to ensure that you do not eat or drink anything within that 1 to 2 hour period before you start attempting the cheek swab. Any foreign substance, no matter how big or small, can drastically impact the results of your test.

Simply keep in mind to keep your mouth free from any outside substance at least an hour or 2 before the swabbing and you will be fine. A contaminated sample would result in you repeating the same process at a later date which could put a hamper on your plans.

Mishandling The Samples Could Lead To Cross-Contamination

It is not just your mouth that needs to be clean from any outside debris when handling DNA samples, you should also maintain a clean and sterilized hand when handling your sample.

The swab’s integrity can get severely contaminated when you accidentally got it in contact with anything that could carry bacteria such as the floor or your hands. It should be stated in the instructions of handling a paternity test to wear a pair of gloves for safety.

One other major thing that should be followed through at all times would be the placement of the samples. You will normally be tasked to mail your samples back to the company that you applied to. However, that process could potentially cause harm to your DNA sample as it can be exposed to all sorts of bacteria and debris. That is why you should ensure that your sample is mailed and sealed in an enclosed envelope and you should NEVER share the same envelope with your partner or child’s DNA sample.

Packaging Is Crucial For All Samples

Sending your DNA sample can be nerve-racking due to the fear of your sample getting lost or contaminated as a result of poor handling. We cannot control the quality of the mailing services of your area but you can control the quality of your DNA sample’s packaging.

One of the ways your sample’s packaging can get compromised is from the wetness of the cheek swab. You cannot avoid the amount of moisture on your package completely. It is common to have a bit of saliva on your envelope due to it being directly in contact with your mouth. However, it would be best for you to let your sample “dry out” a bit by letting naturally be less damp with the air. Remember that your goal when attempting a swab test is to get the cheek cells in your mouth, not the saliva forming near your gums.

Another common issue that could arise with packaging is the material that it is placed on. You may think that it would be best to just send the sample back on the same packaging it originally came on but that is a terrible idea. A DNA sample is an organic material, thus you can expect it to grow some molds and degrade fast when exposed under certain circumstances. The lack of air for the DNA to breathe will almost certainly cause your samples to be moldy and contaminated by the time it reaches the testing facility. As such, it would be best for you to place the DNA sample material on a quality paper envelope. Just remember to air dry the sample beforehand to prevent the wet saliva from breaking through the packaging.

Summary

Your DNA samples are always at risk of being contaminated due to the abundance of foreign materials present around the world. However, a careful read-through of the instructions could prevent you from any unnecessary mistakes that could arise. And remember that contaminated DNA would not result in a false result or change the structure of your DNA. If the sample is contaminated then all you would need to do is to send a replacement as soon as possible.

Careful attention should be paid to the manner in which the specimen is collected to avoid contaminated DNA samples.

Covid-19-And-DNA

Does COVID-19 Affect DNA Test Results?

COVID and DNA

Disease and illness seem to be everywhere in our daily lives. The ongoing  COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest of many deadly viruses that can cause a major impact on our bodies’ cell production. As we have all experienced, this pandemic has caused a significant impact on our daily lives and lifestyles. We have had to adjust from our life as usual behavior and have now changed the way we handle everything from socialization to medications, fitness, and even diet in some cases. The rampant destruction of our ability to fight off deadly viruses, and not just COVID-19, has brought about a unnerving feeling of panic that we could be infected, or infect others, by performing such routine task like DNA tests. But how much do illnesses affect our ability to attempt a DNA paternity test?

DNA tests are usually done to determine paternity, whether it is by testing the suspected father directly with a child in question, or whether we are testing to see if sibling have the same father, or even performing a grandparent test to establish paternity when the father is not available. And these results are important! You want to receive the results as soon as possible and we understand that. However, the two questions we are asked on an almost daily basis since the COVID-19 pandemic has started is, “is it safe to do a DNA test now?” and “does having COVID-19, or a COVID-19 vaccination, have any effect on my DNA and the test results?”

These questions, and concerns, are valid. We want to provide you straightforward answers in this article.

First, any DNA test that need to be done does not normally involve an invasive medical process. A cheek swab is the most common method which is used to gain access to our genetic code or DNA. For all home DNA tests the mouth swabs can be self-administered, and do not have to have anyone near you to collect your DNA sample. Home DNA testing is the most common method of paternity testing, sibling DNA tests, grandparent DNA testing, and twin zygosity testing. Legal DNA testing is used for court issues, or where a chain of custody and the verification of a person’s identity is necessary. In legal cases, there are trained, and approved DNA collectors with whom we can set an appointment for your collection, and who are trained in proper safety protocols for DNA collection. So the collection itself, whether for private results of legally admissible DNA results, should pose no issue.

Second, the buccal cells that are collection by a mouth swab, which are the DNA samples tested in lab, are unaffected by either regular illness or disease, or the COVID-19 virus. The only exception to this is if you have undergone either a stem cell transplant, bone marrow transplant, skin graft near the mouth, or a blood transfusion in the last 90-180 days. If you have, we strongly recommend that you wait to take a DNA test for the best results. If you have not undergone any of these medical procedures, you do not need to be concerned as the DNA sample you submit will not undergo any sort of change due to an underlying sickness or medication. Even if you are currently ill, a home DNA test is still a viable option to determine paternity, or twin zygosity.   and illnesses may not alter your DNA but medical treatments can change the way your DNA is formed.

Third, when sending your DNA samples to the lab for processing, there is no need to indicate that you have any illness. Your cheek swab will be handled with the utmost care, and the same process, whether you are sick or healthy. Our lab techs go to great lengths to ensure that there is no contamination on the swab tested.

Finally, we want to encourage you to focus on the directions for using a mouth swab, and the handling of your DNA sample, after it has been collected. The sample should be free from any contamination from the time you open your mouth, until you securely seal it in collection envelope. In addition, avoid sending the sample while it is damp with saliva as it could rip through the paper envelope and runs a higher risk of getting contaminated.

You can expect most accredited laboratories, whether used for DNA testing or otherwise, to be devoting their sometimes limited resources, in helping to ensure safety for their employee, maintain the integrity of DNA samples, and combat the ongoing pandemic, all at the same time. We continue to accept DNA test order, as well as maintaining our processing time commitments, during challenging times. While we do not anticipate it, we will always notify you, and ask for your patience, should delays arise from our vendors and partners.

So the answer to the question “Does COVID-19 Affect DNA Test Results?” is no. You can rest easy knowing that your home DNA test will not be affected as a result of being exposed to various illnesses.

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