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.