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DNA FAQ’s About Paternity and Relationship Testing

Please select the subject you have questions about from the options shown. The most often asked questions concerning specific tests may be found on the webpage for that test.

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You may order your test any time that is convenient for you right here on our website. Just go to Order A DNA Test in the menu and select the test you want to order. The order form will just ask a few basic questions and your order can be submitted. Orders are received 24 hours a day. All orders are reviewed by a live person prior to sending the DNA collection kit(s) in case there is a need for any additional information or clarification on your order.

Confirmation emails (digital receipts) are sent automatically when the order is placed. Since they are sent by email, they may arrive shortly after the order if placed. If you do not see the receipt in your inbox, please check your spam or junk folder in case it was sent there by mistake. If you do see the email in your junk or spam folder, please add us to your email address book so you don't miss any other email's that might be sent.

Please note that all items emailed are sent to the ordering party at the email address listed on the order form.

All DNA collection kits are sent to U.S.A. addresses by USPS Priority mail. Kits sent outside of the U.S.A. are sent either USPS International Priority, or USPS International First Class depending on the option you choose when ordering.

While our return address is on the mailing label (in case it needs to be returned by the USPS) nowhere on the label, or kit, does it say what type of test is being done. No one will know what is in the package and your privacy will be protected.

Domestic addresses usually see delivery of the kit in 2-3 business days. Depending on location, and weather or pandemic issues, there may at times be a small delay, however this is still uncommon. You can use the tracking number you were provided to go to to check the status of your shipment.

You will receive an email from either or providing you with a tracking number(s) for the kit(s) that were shipped. If you do not see the receipt in your inbox, please check your spam or junk folder in case it was sent there by mistake. If you do see the email in your junk or spam folder, please add us to your email address book so you don't miss any other email's that might be sent.

Kits are shipped Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by 5 PM PST.

Due to changes within the USPS there are times that the USPS may not scan the label on your envelope containing the kit. If an update is not available on the USPS website, that does not mean the kit is not on it's way to the destination you have provided.

Yes, however the tracking numbers will come in multiple emails from the USPS or, since there is more than one address listed.

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First, relax. We are sure you will do just fine. We have provided step by step instruction on you how to do a  mouth swab collection. To view this instructions just click on DNA Collection.

Place them in a paper envelope and tape it closed after you have written the information needed on the front of the envelope. Never put a DNA sample in plastic wrap as bacteria can form and corrupt the integrity of the sample.

Private testing does not require verification of a person's identity. Whatever name or initials you put on the envelope is how the test results will be written.

Yes. It doesn't matter if you use regular cotton swabs (Q-tip style) or buccal swabs for the DNA collection. Cotton swabs are generally 100% cotton topped where buccal swabs are a blended material, however both collect DNA just fine when our instructions are followed.

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As long as the lab technicians are able to obtain a DNA profile from the sample, the results as just as accurate as a mouth swab. Using a higher number of genetic markers to test each person allows us to issue testing results that are 100% accurate based on the profiles generated.

Testing of alternative samples may take up to an additional 5 days, depending on the DNA sample. This is to ensure that a strong enough genetic profile can be obtained. Once a DNA sample is found to be viable, the testing ordered will be completed. Our goal is always to help you get the answers you need in the shortest period of time.

In most cases, no. A legal test requires written consent from all parties (or legal guardians), photo identification, and a third party who performs the DNA collection. Alternative samples are provided for discreet testing and therefore cannot be used in court.

Non standard samples do not always guarantee that a DNA Profile will be obtained as we have no way to determine the quality of the sample prior to receiving it.

However, it is not just the type of sample that is important but also other variables such as :

  • Poor storage conditions (e.g. damp environment, extreme heat or cold, etc).
  • Poor sample handling (possible contamination with other DNA or dirt).
  • Not enough DNA present (e.g. heavily used toothbrush vs used once only).

In all cases the laboratory technicians are trained to make every effort, and multiple attempts, at obtaining a usable genetic profile with every DNA sample that is tested.


Yes, you are protected by our strict privacy policy. No one may access your DNA test information without your written consent.

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The potential father and child swab the inside of their cheeks for buccal (cheek) cells. You mail the cotton swab applicators to our lab. Once all samples have arrived at the lab, DNA is extracted from the swabs and the testing begins. The genetic loci that are analyzed contain DNA sequences known as short tandem repeats (STRs)—short, repeating units of DNA. For each person, the number of repeats present at each genetic locus is variable and is inherited from their biological parents. For each genetic locus, each person has two genetic markers, or alleles (alternate forms of the DNA sequence): one allele is inherited from their biological mother and one allele is inherited from their biological father. The test result report lists the allele sizes (number of repeats) for the mother (if tested), child, and alleged father at each genetic locus. If only the child and alleged father are tested, and they do not share any alleles in common at three or more loci, then the alleged father is a excluded (ruled out). When the alleged father possesses the obligate or possible paternal alleles at all loci tested, then he is not excluded (not ruled out) as the biological father. Based on these genetic findings, a probability of paternity is calculated and reported.

Yes. There are a few options available to do DNA testing. We can perform a test using a parent of the alleged father (Grandparent DNA test), or sibling of the alleged father (Avuncular DNA test), if available. We can also test two or more possible siblings who suspect they share the same mother (Full Sibling test) or only believe they share the same biological father (Half Sibling test). Also, a paternity test can be performed using a non-standard, or alternative, sample containing the alleged father’s DNA, such as, blood, hair, finger nails, toe nails, toothbrush, etc.

You may be concerned that your DNA sample could be used to discover a whole range of things about you. Please be reassured that our DNA paternity testing will not lead to this. The DNA sample that is taken for our paternity test will only be used for paternity testing. You can be certain that information regarding your test results is only released to those individuals specifically listed as authorized on the order form.

Yes. Almost 98% of our paternity testing is done only with a father's DNA sample and a child's DNA sample. You may, however, wish to consider the following information: (1) Looking at it from a scientific point of view, testing the mother is helpful in some cases because it enables the lab to determine which half of the child’s genes came from her, and therefore which half came from the father. This can, in a small number of cases, increase the strength of the results of a paternity test. Although, in most routine paternity tests, conclusive results are  obtained when the mother is not tested, there are certain situations in which testing the mother is very important and strongly recommended. One example of this type of situation is when a newborn child is to be tested with an alleged father who has not seen the child previously, and who is concerned that the mother might try to test a different child in order to alter the test outcome. In such cases, testing the mother enables the lab to confirm that the child tested is indeed hers, because they would match each other genetically. This type of concern has also been raised by some adoption attorneys, in which an alleged father seeking parental rights to a newborn child he has never seen, and has a concern that the presumptive adoptive parent(s) may substitute another infant in the test, with the intention of obtaining a paternity test result that excludes the alleged father. Including the biological mother in the test eliminates this potential problem. Testing the mother is of tremendous value in increasing the conclusiveness of more complex relationship tests, such as sibling tests, grandparent tests, avuncular tests, and tests involving closely-related possible fathers (such as brothers). (2) From a legal standpoint, for legally-admissible paternity tests, if the mother will not be tested, then consent for testing any minor children (or legally-incapacitated adults) must be provided by the mother, by another adult having the legal authority to provide consent, or by court-order. Evidence of legal authority or legal guardianship must be provided. Journey Genetic Testing does not charge extra for the mother's DNA sample, for any of our tests, when it is submitted with the initial testing of DNA samples sent to the lab.

No. There is no difference in the accuracy of DNA tests performed using blood versus buccal swabs. This is because the cells of your cheek (and all other types of bodily tissue) contain the same DNA as the cells of your blood.

Yes. Home DNA paternity tests are extremely accurate. A test can show with 99.99+% accuracy if a man isn’t a person’s biological father.

If two possible fathers are related as full brothers, or father and son, they may share many of the DNA markers used in paternity testing. This means that if the laboratory is not aware of these relationships, both men could test positive as the child’s biological father. DNA testing is strong enough to determine paternity in a case involving closely-related fathers, but the laboratory must be made aware of these situations before the testing process begins. Journey Genetic Testing offers two options for cases involving possible fathers who are related: Option 1: Test both fathers, the child, and the mother at the same time. By comparing both fathers’ DNA profiles with the child’s DNA profile, the expert laboratory staff can achieve accurate and conclusive test results. There is an added fee for the additional father. Option 2: Test one father with extended analysis. This option is for when only one of the fathers is available for testing. To produce a conclusive result, we must perform extended testing and statistical analysis. There is an additional fee for the extended testing and analysis. If your testing scenario involves two possible fathers who are closely related, please contact us at 855-362-5224 prior to ordering your test..

No. An ancestry DNA can identify potential DNA matches, but only a DNA direct paternity test can prove a father-child DNA match.

Yes! Cheek-swab samples are the industry standard for this type of test. Cheek swabs make DNA extraction by our lab’s robots easy, which is one way to keep costs lower for our customers. If you want to submit an alternative sample such as toothbrush, ear wax on swabs, or fingernail clippings, please keep in mind there is a non-refundable fee of $100 required to test a sample’s viability prior to testing.

Yes, we can mail the paternity test kits to two different addresses. There is an option to list a second address on our online form.

Not usually. You should probably not do a home paternity test if you need results for child support, custody, or any other legal reason. Courts do not generally accept results unless they are from a legal DNA test that maintained a strict chain-of-custody process. At the same time, it is within a judge's right to accept into evidence anything they deem valid. We suggest that if you have specific questions concerning a legal matter that you contact an attorney prior to proceeding. We will work with an attorney of your choosing to move forward on any testing that is necessary.

No. The DNA sample must follow a strict chain-of-custody process to protect its integrity, as with any legal DNA test. This requires verifying and confirming the identity of the individuals whose DNA is submitted.

No. The USCIS requires that the testing laboratory is located in the United States, and is accredited by the AABB. As an AABB-accredited testing facility, our lab partner meets these stringent requirements and completes thousands of these important tests each year.

Typically, this type of legal DNA test costs between $499 - $699, depending on the test, and the situation surrounding the case.  You will be provided with an exact price in your free consultation with our lab's immigration specialist. There is no obligation to do the testing through our partner lab after this consultation.

Although this may vary by embassy, these are the items you should bring to the DNA collection appointment:

  • A photocopy of the U.S. citizen parent’s ID
  • The passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) applicant’s birth certificate
  • A photo of the applicant
  • A receipt from the panel physician showing payment for the DNA collection

You should arrive at least 15 minutes early for your interview to allow for security checks and have all documents ready. Swabbing your cheek takes seconds, but other factors contribute to the duration of your appointment.

When you order a DNA immigration test , the results are usually ready as soon as two working days after samples arrive at our lab.

According to the USCIS, the length of time varies from case to case and therefore can’t be accurately predicted for individual cases. Some cases are delayed because applicants don’t follow instructions carefully. Some visa applications require further administrative processing after the visa applicant’s interview by the consular officer. Other sites state that an immigration visa can take 18 months to 3 years, depending on the circumstances.

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