Alternative Samples For Paternity Testing
The paternity test kit that we provide includes sterile mouth swabs for each person testing. The swabs are called buccal (buc·cal) swabs, which literally means the “side of the cheek.” . A swab is similar to a long handled cotton swab (think Q-tip), although the top of the swab is not all cotton. Whenever possible, we suggest using a mouth swab for collecting DNA. The DNA from a mouth swab can even be a better sample than a blood sample, and is the standard method of DNA collection for almost every laboratory.
While we recommend using a swab, we know that there are circumstances that prevent DNA collection this way. It may not be practical To swab the mouth from the person who you want to test with. These situations should not keep your from getting the answers you need. Because of this we also are able to test other items for DNA. If you want to testing anything else besides a cheek swab, we refer to as an alternative, or non-standard DNA sample. Some of the items that are often testing include a used tissue, a drinking straw, toothbrushes, nail clippings, hair, and many other things as well. We do have to add an additional cost to test these type of items. The reason for the additional cost is that we are required to perform an additional test, called a viability study, to make certain there is sufficient DNA on the alternative specimen. This must be done on every alternative specimen that we test. The lab specialists make every effort to find the DNA necessary for testing from every item that is sent in.
If you are thinking about sending in an alternative DNA specimen for your paternity test, there are a few things you should know. First, and this is very important, place the item into a paper envelope. This should be stored at room temperature. We would strongly advise against putting any sample for testing into a plastic bag or “zip-lock” style baggie. When a baggie is closed tightly, bacteria can form since the item can’t “breathe.” If this happens it can hinder the ability to get useable DNA from the sample. Before you place the item into a paper envelope, please write the name of the person on the outside of the envelope. You should also put the current date on the envelope.
For more information on non-standard items for testing, and to see a suggested list of items, please click on ALTERNATIVE DNA SAMPLES.