What is DNA?
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) is the molecule in the body that carries our genetic code and makes us who we are. We inherit half our DNA from our biological mother and half from our biological father. Each person inherits a unique mixture of our parents DNA which ,with the exception of identical twins, makes each of us genetically different.
What is a paternity DNA test?
It tests whether a man is the biological father of a child by comparing the DNA of a child with the DNA of an alleged father. DNA is present in almost all of our cells, including those lining the inside of our mouth. Simply rubbing the inside of the mouth with a swab transfers some of those cells onto the swab. The laboratory extracts the DNA from the swab and the test is conducted.
How does a paternity test work?
Children inherit half their DNA from their biological mother and half from their biological father. Our DNA test analyses 24 DNA locations across our genome. The laboratory analyse and compares the DNA of the child to that of the alleged father tested to determine whether the DNA Of the child was inherited from the alleged father. This assists in determining the likelihood that a man is the biological father of a child. The test will result in either a man matching a child with a probability of paternity of over 99.9% or it will exclude them completely.
Can paternity testing be done without a sample from the mother?
Yes, the DNA profiles of only the child and the alleged father can be compared when the mother is not available, but if a close male relative of the alleged father could also be suspected as the child’s biological father then the mother’s sample is essential in order to be completely sure of the true biological father.
What DNA samples can be used?
A swab from inside the mouth is all that is needed as DNA is found in our cells that line the surface of the mouth. No other samples will be accepted for this paternity test. You must use the swabs contained in the sampling kit you will receive. The sampling is quick, non-invasive and painless.
What is a peace of mind paternity test?
This is a test that is run for your own information. You collect the swabs at home at a time convenient for you. You post the swabs to the laboratory for analysis and they will email the report to you. The postage for sending the kit to the laboratory is included in the cost of the test.
This test is exactly the same test that is run for the legal paternity tests required for court purposes, the only difference is the sample has not been sampled by someone impartial, who can verify the identification of the individuals sampled. This is a critical requirement for any test report to be used in court.
Please note that whilst you are solely responsible for home sampling it is still a legal requirement that someone with parental/legal guardian responsibility for children under 16 must sign consent to the child’s sample being taken at home.
How soon after birth can a paternity test be done on a baby?
It can be done immediately after birth. Taking a swab from the inside of the baby’s mouth is totally harmless, painless, non-invasive and quick.
What is in the Paternity Test kit
- Instructions For Use
- A Sample Consent Form
- The required number of;
- sterile swabs
- protective pouches
- Prepaid Royal Mail Tracked 24 tamperproof return box
How do I take the sample?
The Instructions For Use included in the kit detail everything to assist you in taking a mouth swab. It is very straightforward, painless and quick. The most important thing to remember is NOT taking the swab within 30 minutes of eating or drinking. Food or drink residue can result in poor quality DNA and a new sample may be requested.
How soon will the results be ready?
Results will be emailed within 2 working days of the sample being received by the laboratory.
If a swab does not contain sufficient or adequate quality DNA the result may be delayed as the laboratory may need to request another sample.
The results will be emailed to the email address provided on the Consent form sent in with the samples.
Are the home sampling kits discreet?
Yes. The kits can either be collected from our clinic or posted out in plain grey or white plastic envelopes with no branding on them.
What happens to my DNA samples after testing?
The samples are destroyed after THREE months unless the laboratory are otherwise prior instructed in writing or the samples relate to a case where the laboratory have been notified of possible fraudulent activity. All other confidential documentation will be destroyed after TWELVE months unless the laboratory are otherwise instructed. All DNA profiles retained for up to 6 years.
What if the potential fathers are related?
If the potential fathers are brothers, or father and son, then we strongly advise that the mother provide a sample for testing to obtain a conclusive result. Assigning of the mother’s DNA contribution in the child makes the test statistically more conclusive.
Can a result be inconclusive?
The test used at the Forensic Genomics Innovation Hub has an extremely high power of discrimination between individuals, therefore it is rare that an inconclusive result will be obtained. However, where the possible fathers are close relatives there is a chance of an inconclusive report if the mother, or both possible fathers is/are, not tested. Either sample can be “added in” at a later date at a cost of £50, but a report can only be issued once a conclusive result is obtained.
It is also possible that one individual has a slight variant in one or two of the markers tested which occurred at conception, but means they do not match the other individual. Whilst this should not affect the probability of paternity, when both parents are tested, it can result in reduced confidence in the probability of paternity, when only father and child are tested. This would result in the mother being requested or if this is not an option further DNA markers can be analysed at an additional cost.
Can you use a DNA ancestry test to prove paternity?
An ancestry DNA can identify potential DNA matches, but only a paternity DNA test can prove a father-child DNA match.
Can a paternity DNA test be carried out when a father is deceased?
It is possible to identify a biological father of a child, even after the man has passed away. These are called kinship tests. It is the exact same test but different statistical hypothesis are analysed and other family members are required to give samples for DNA profiling. Biological parents, siblings or other children of the deceased father can be analysed against the DNA of the child in order to obtain a likelihood of paternity. It is not routinely as conclusive but may well suggest a biological relationship between the deceased and the child.
Is home paternity DNA testing legal?
Home peace of mind paternity DNA testing is absolutely legal, as long as the correct consent is given for the sample donors participating in the DNA test.
The Human Tissue Act 2004, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, includes a section (Section 45) on the non-consensual analysis of DNA and creates a new offence of DNA ‘theft’.
It is unlawful to have human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed, without the consent of the person from whom the tissue came. In Scotland, The Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 deals with the uses of human tissue, and also covers the non-consensual testing of DNA. Failing to obtain or abusing consent will result in consequences and even punishments. Therefore consent is needed from, or on behalf of, each person whose samples are provided for DNA testing.
Anyone aged 16 or over must provide their own consent (a signature) to take part in DNA testing. For children under 16 years of age, consent must be provided by a parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child. In the UK, a mother has parental responsibility for her child automatically from birth. A father usually has parental responsibility if he’s either: married to the child’s mother, or named on the birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in).
Does the NHS offer free paternity testing?
No, the NHS does not offer free paternity testing.