Paternity Test FAQ’s

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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.

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